The Bloodhound rocket is seen travelling at speed

Bloodhound project will encourage next generation of engineers

An attempt to smash the world land speed record will inspire a generation of young people, according to the jet car's driver.

The Bloodhound project aims to design and build a vehicle capable of shattering the 1,000mph mark, leaving the current record of 763mph in its dust.

The man behind the wheel of the rocket-propelled machine – Wing Commander Andy Green from the Royal Air Force – hopes children will become scientists and mathematicians after watching him power to 1.4 times the speed of sound.

The 50-year-old former Phantom and Tornado pilot holds the record after he drove the Thrust Supersonic car to 763mph in 1997.

"Now 15 years later, we're running an education programme called Bloodhound to break that record and share the technology with a whole generation of young people," he said.

"This is much bigger than just another land speed record."

Powered by a Typhoon jet engine and a hybrid rocket, the RAF pilot will call on his flying experience to control the vehicle, which is much more like a fighter jet than the average saloon car.

"All of the technology we have to develop, it's not commercially sensitive, it's not militarily sensitive, there's no competition because there are no other Bloodhounds in the world," Wg Cdr Green added.

"We can share all of it and that gives us the ability to reach out to a generation of young people to give them something iconic, exciting and simple – like driving in a straight line – and look at the science, the technology, the maths, the environmental science.

"The whole project lends itself to the world's most exciting science and technology lessons. That is the legacy for Bloodhound."

His comments came in advance of the first test of the hybrid rocket that the Bloodhound team will use to propel the car to over 1,000mph.

The rocket, which will be tested at Newquay airport tomorrow, will be the biggest rocket to be fired in Britain for over 20 years.

"The Bloodhound project is much more than a world record attempt," said Professor Isobel Pollock, president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

"It is a golden opportunity to show the younger generation how exciting an engineering career can be.

"The UK faces an engineering skills shortage that threatens to derail many sectors of the economy.

"Presenting young people with such a perfect example of the ingenuity, skill and drive that defines British engineering is a great way to encourage more people into the profession."

The Ministry of Defence is backing the project and Whitehall chiefs hope young people will be inspired to get involved in science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

A team of five REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) experts will help build and maintain the car over the next two years in the UK and be on hand during the record attempts in South Africa next year and in 2014.

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