The large hybrid rocket engine designed to power Britain’s supersonic Bloodhound car to supersonic speeds has undergone the first series of tests.
Designed and built by Scandinavian aerospace and defence group Nammo, the engine, to be one of three rockets to propel Bloodhound to speeds of more than 1,609km/h, uses an innovative combination of hydrogen peroxide as an oxidiser and synthetic rubber as a fuel.
During the tests at Nammo’s test centre in Raufoss, Norway, the rocket engine fired for 16 seconds producing a maximum thrust of 30kN.
The engine started instantly after ignition and the firing was terminated in a controlled manner by closing the main oxidiser valve. Normally a full burn would have lasted 25 seconds, but on this occasion the test was terminated after 16 seconds.
When they inspected the motor after the first burn the engineers concluded the device was in a perfect condition, capable of further firing.
Apart from powering the UK’s attempt to break the land-speed record, scheduled to take place in 2016 in South Africa, the hybrid rocket engines developed by Nammo are part of the European Space Agency’s (Esa) search for more efficient launchers
Nammo’s hybrid rocket technology research is part of Esa’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme, which is looking for greener propulsion systems.
The recently tested hybrid rocket motor is also the first building block for the North Star Rocket Family designed to deliver small satellites to orbit from the Andøya Space Centre in Northern Norway.
Watch a video from the test below: