Bloodhound, the British car powered by both a jet engine and a rocket, has delayed its attempt to reach 1,000 mph on the ground until 2017. Trials on the west coast of England’s southern tip have been pushed into late 2016. Organizers said a “number of major funding deals are still in negotiation.”
That means the organizers lack the money for the trials in England and the record attempts on a specially built track in Africa, but the organization has doubled down on its outreach to children. More than 100,000 school kids took part in Bloodhound lessons or events in England last year. More are involved overseas. By this Easter, 150 regional centers will run model rocket car competitions. Universities associated with the project claim a bump in the number of students applying to study engineering.
The first record attempt will be for 800 mph. The record sits at the supersonic 763 mph set by Richard Noble, who directs the Bloodhound project. He set the record at Black Rock Desert in the United States, but that surface has been ruined by lack of rain for a decade and the annual Burning Man festival. That’s why the attempt has been moved to the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa. It is in the upper northwest of South Africa, almost at the border with Namibia. It is 11 miles long, which should be enough for the 1,000 mph run.
A Eurojet EJ200 military engine normally powering the Eurofighter Typhoon provides half the needed thrust. Also needed is an auxiliary power unit to supply 40 gallons per second of peroxide to the rocket. The auxiliary power unit is a Jaguar Supercharged V8 developing 550 brake horsepower.
The rocket was developed by Norwegian specialist Nammo. The rocket engine will use a cluster of four or five motors, providing 27,500 pounds of thrust. Together the rocket and 20,200-pound-thrust jet engine generate eight times more power than the entire field of a typical Formula 1 race. Nammo rockets are used to separate the stages of Ariane 5, a commercial satellite launch vehicle.
Disclosure: The author’s name will appear on the tail of the aircraft as a donor.