When Thrust SSC broke the sound barrier on land at 763 miles per hour, it was an amazing achievement. The same UK-based team is now aiming to smash their current record by reaching 1000 miles per hour with their new Bloodhound SSC. It is an incredibly ambitious goal, but they believe they are in with a chance using a Eurofighter jet engine plus rocket propulsion and the application of various lessons learnt from Thrust SSC. For example, they are trying to avoid the shockwave damaging the ground the wheels run over, which was an issue for Thrust SSC. A few mind boggling facts about Bloodhound SSC:
- it has an 800 hp petrol engine just to drive the oxidizer for the rocket
- it will use 1.5 tonnes of fuel in 40 seconds
- the air pressure will reach 12 tonnes per square metre
- the wheels will be machined from solid titanium to resist up to 50,000 g of force caused by them spinning at up to 10,500 rpm
The stated aims of the Bloodhound SSC project are:
- To create a national surge in the popularity of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects
- To create an iconic project requiring extreme research and technology whilst simultaneously providing the means to enable the student population to join in the adventure
- To achieve the first 1000 mph record on land
- To generate very substantial and enduring media exposure for sponsors
Note that breaking the record is only goal number 3. Anything that results in a few more people doing degrees in science and technology, rather than media studies and homoeopathy, has my full support. So I have stumped up a few pounds to join their supporters club. You can find out more about the challenges of designing a 1000 mph car in this Guardian article. You can find out more about Bloodhound SSC and join their supporters club on their official website. You might even win the draw to see Bloodhound SSC run.
As someone who did a media-type degree (American Studies, for the record), I say a whole-hearted good luck to them – but if the history of the landspeed record has taught us anything, it’s that the brave people that attempt it come from all walks of life!
I think the land speed record has moved beyond the realm of individual bravery and into bleeding edge science and engineering. A team of media studies graduates is never going to design and build a 1000 mph car, no matter how brave they are.
I’m not saying a media studies degree is worthless. But there is a limit to how many media studies graduates we need. We need people to actually create stuff and I would like to see a lot more people studying hard science and engineering degrees.
– it will use 1.5 tonnes of fuel in 40 seconds
Our family mobile is a Chrysler Grand Voyager. I feel their pain.