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What is Bloodhound SSE?

All about the Land Speed Record

YOU MIGHTthlnk thatlewls
Hamilton is the fastest Brit on
four wheels, but spare a thought
for Andy Green, whose rare but
spectacular car adventures make
the Formula 1 champion look like
a snail.
Ten years ago, Andy was an
RAF pilotflyin~ Tornado F3
fighter jets over Bosnia and Iraq.
That wasn’t enough excitement
for him, though, so he took up
‘the best weekend job ever’.
‘I saw a newspaper advert for
someone to drive a supersonic
car and break the Land Speed
Record. My life has never been
the same since.’
The advert was placed by
Richard Noble, a businessman,
private pilot and adventurer with
a love of risk and speed. Not all
of Noble’s profects have gone
well. but, as Green says: ‘You
can’t succeed In life unless you
are prepared, sometimes, to fail
and learn from what went wrong.’
Noble’s high-speed boat, the
Atlantic Sprinter, was never built,
and a two-seater light aircraft
company, based In the Isle of
Wi~ht, failed to take off, so to
But, on the plus side, Noble
broke an earlier Land Speed
Record in October 1983 driving
his own car, Thrust 2, powered
by a Rolls-Royce Avon 1et engine
salva~ed from an old En~lish
Electric Lightning 1et fighter.
Noble then began the painful
business of obtaining sponsorship
for his next dream -the Thrust
SuperSonic Car (SSCJ, the world’s
fastest machine on wheels, a
sleek monster propelled by two
massive state-of-the-art turbofan
jet engines from an F-.c. Phantom
fighter. In October 1997, Andy
Green pushed the car to 763mph
(:L.l28kmhJ and broke the Land
Speed Record while hurtling past
the speed of sound.
No one else on Earth has
come close to matching that epic
achievement. Most supersonic
vehicles normally fly high up In the
atmosphere, or in space. However,
Noble and Green aren’t content
to let matters rest. The plan now
Is to bu lid an even faster SSC
capable of a staggering 1,ooomph
(l.,6ogkmhJ. Thars 1.-4 times the
speeed of sound: faster than a
bullet shooting out of a hand gun.
lfs not just a question of
taking the old Thrust SSC and
pushing down a little harder on
the accelerator pedal. For a fighter
jet operating at high altitude,
where the air is comparatively
thIn, supersonic speeds are easy
to achieve. Down on the ground,
In the densest regions of the
atmosphere, jet engines have
a severe limit on how fast they
can go. Thrust SSC had twin jet
engines; look at the front of the
car and you see the two huge
air Intakes. There comes a point,
beyond the speed that Thrust
could achieve, where, as Green
explains: ‘The Intakes create too
much air resistance and the car
can’t go any faster.’
The new car, Bloodhound sse,
has an even sleeker design than
Thrust. A single jet engine with
a quite small air Intake pushes
Bloodhound to a modest 30omph
{tt8okmh}, butthars just for
starters. As Green flicks a switch
and braces hlmselffor a savage
burst of acceleration, a rocket
engine flares Into action and the
car shoots forward even faster
on a trail offlame. And lttakes
yet another hefty power plant,
a 12-cyllnder racing car engine
attached to a pump, to push ..,.. a whopping one ton of fuel
through the rocket engine In just
20 seconds, as Bloodhound surges
towards its maximum speed.
Bloodhound’s rocket engine
has a solid-fuelled core made
from hydroxy-terminated
polybutadlene (HTPBJ. That
sounds complicated, like you’d
need an advanced degree in
chemistry i ust to pronounce it.
But be ready for a surprise as to
how cheap and easy HTPB is to
make. It’s basically powdered tyre
rubber. Hydrogen peroxide, the
stuff that (In very weak solutions}
makes most of the blondes in the
world blonde, serves at very fullest
strength as the oxldlser.
Nothing can bum unless the
oxidiser is flowing through the solid
core. Bloodhound’s rocket booster
can be switched off Instantly If
Green’s warning lights come on and
he decides that now is not, perhaps,
the right time to push through the
sound barrier.
Everyone knows that ‘rocket
science’ Is a mind-stretcher, but
Green reckons Bloodhound Is even
more of a challenge to design and
build. ‘If you think about it, we have
an aerodynamically designed
car, running on wheels, with a
jet engine to get us on the move
and a rocket to push us beyond
that point. That’s at least three or
four different technologies In one
So far, most of those technologies
are siting inside computer
simulations (although a physical
mock-up of the car Is being
assembled}. The next three years
will be crucial, as Bloodhound
moves from the design phase and
into actual production and testing.
In these times of broken banks
and the credit crunch, winning the
sponsorship won’t be easy, but, as
Green says: ‘Now more than ever
we need some good news with an
inspirational and positive story.’
Of course, there’s more to
Bloodhound than just going very
fast. Noble and Green aren’t just
In this for the kicks. Their real
motivation Is to excite youn~
people about the challenges of
science, maths and technology.
Their team Is working 1 ust as hard
on ‘outreach’ projects for schools,
colleges and universities as they
are on the car Itself.
Green was Inspired at school


You might think that Lewis Hamilton is the fastest Briton on four wheels, but spare a thought for Andy Green, whose rare but spectacular car adventures make the Formula 1 champion look like a snail.

Andy Green was an¬†RAF pilot, flying Tornado F3¬†fighter jets. ¬†That wasn’t enough excitement¬†for him, though, so he took up¬†‘the best weekend job ever’ – someone who was looking for¬†someone to drive a supersonic¬†car and break the Land Speed¬†Record!

In October 1997, Andy Green drove the Thrust SuperSonic Car to 763mph, breaking the Land Speed Record while hurtling past the speed of sound.  No one else on Earth has come close to matching that epic achievement. Most supersonic vehicles normally fly high up in the atmosphere, or in space.

There’s a plan now to build an even faster car – one¬†capable of a staggering 1,ooo mph – that’s¬†faster than a¬†bullet shooting out of a hand gun.

lt’s not just a question of¬†taking the old Thrust SSC and¬†pushing down a little harder on¬†the accelerator pedal. For a fighter¬†jet operating at high altitude,¬†where the air is comparatively¬†thin, supersonic speeds are easy¬†to achieve. Down on the ground, in the densest regions of the¬†atmosphere, jet engines have¬†a severe limit on how fast they¬†can go. Thrust SSC had twin jet¬†engines; look at the front of the¬†car and you see the two huge¬†air Intakes. There comes a point,¬†beyond the speed that Thrust¬†could achieve, where the Intakes create too¬†much air resistance and the car¬†can’t go any faster.

Bloodhound sseThe new car, Bloodhound sse, has an even sleeker design than Thrust. A single jet engine with a quite small air Intake pushes Bloodhound to a modest 30o mph, but thats just for starters.  As Green flicks a switch and braces hlmselffor a savage burst of acceleration, a rocket engine flares into action and the car shoots forward even faster on a trail of flame. And it takes yet another hefty power plant, a 12-cyllnder racing car engine attached to a pump, to push ..,.. a whopping one ton of fuel through the rocket engine in just 20 seconds, as Bloodhound surges towards its maximum speed.

Bloodhound’s rocket engine¬†has a solid-fuelled core made¬†from hydroxy-terminated¬†polybutadlene. That¬†sounds complicated, like you’d¬†need an advanced degree in¬†chemistry just to pronounce it. ¬†But be ready for a surprise as to¬†how cheap and easy HTPB is to¬†make. It’s basically powdered tyre¬†rubber. Hydrogen peroxide¬†serves at very fullest¬†strength as the oxidiser. ¬†Nothing can burn unless the¬†oxidiser is flowing through the solid¬†core. Bloodhound’s rocket booster¬†can be switched off instantly if the¬†warning lights come on.

Everyone knows that ‘rocket¬†science’ is a mind-stretcher, but¬†Green reckons Bloodhound is even¬†more of a challenge to design and¬†build. ‘If you think about it, we have¬†an aerodynamically designed¬†car, running on wheels, with a¬†jet engine to get us on the move¬†and a rocket to push us beyond¬†that point. That’s at least three or¬†four different technologies In one¬†vehicle.’

Story courtesy from IET’s Flipside

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