Rocket Powered Car Debuts Test Run

rocket powered car
Photo Credit: Peter Beavis, Wired UK

This past Thursday, a jet powered car that was designed to travel more than 1,000 mph made it’s first debut for a test run at Newquay airport ins Cornwall of the UK. The British vehicle, a hybrid between a car and plane, was designed to defeat the current land record of 763 mph set in 1997 by Andy Green, a Royal Air Force fighter pilot.

The same man who set the current land record was the one who drove the Bloodhound SSC (Supersonic Car) on Thursday. During the test run, the Bloodhound SSC reached more than 200 mph in less than eight seconds going down a runway at Cornwall Airport.

The test run yesterday was the first time for Green to take control of the $40 million vehicle.


Watch the first public runs


The early test runs are to prove that all the assembled parts work properly and to put confidence in the team to push the car for higher speeds. The car’s power is coming from a jet engine that is normally found on a Eurojet military plane. While the team was confident it’ll be good enough to top 600 mph, they wanted more speed.They contacted the Norwegian company Nammo, asking them to build a couple rockets that would strap under the jet engine. One single rocket brings them closer to 800 mph to claim the new record. Moving on afterward, they plan to use a cluster of three rockets in order to attempt the 1,000 mph speed.

If successful in their feat, the team and vehicle will achieve a speed that only military jets and Concorde have been able to reach up to this point in time.

The Bloodhound SSC is 44 feet long, weighs 8 and half tons and looks like an orange and blue space launch vehicle on the side. The length and weight of the vehicle will make it harder for Andy Green to deal with shockwaves forming around the car when it breaks through the sound barrier which is about 761 mph. He will be sealed in a close-quartered cockpit while using a squared off steering wheel for control. The Bloodhound will run on 4 skinny aluminum wheels which will act like skids at the high speeds. The slow build up until the 1,000 mph threshold is to be as safe as possible.

After more testing of the vehicle in the UK, the car will be moved to a dried up lake bed in South Africa called Hakskeen Pan. The dried up lake will allow more room to reach the target speed and still be able to stop safely. Runs will continue for the next three years before they’re finally able to cross the 1,000 mph mark with confidence and safety. If they reach their 1,000 mph mark, it is safe to say that record will not be beaten for a very long time.

Source(s): Jack Stewart, Wired; Richard Gray, DailyMailUK