The Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) will attempt to break the world land-speed record in October 2017 after securing new funding that allows engineering work to recommence.
The rocket-powered car built to demonstrate the attractiveness of engineering work to students and young children was originally expected to make the record-breaking attempt this summer. However, due to the lack of funding, the unfinished car has been mostly laying idle since its first public demonstration in September last year.
“This is probably the biggest moment in the project’s history,” said Richard Noble, Project Director of the Bloodhound SSC Project. “Before we could only see financially a few months ahead, but now we can put our foot down and really go for it!”
It has not yet been revealed who the new sponsors are.
Engineers that have been laid off as the project stalled are now being called back to continue work with renewed energy. Although the car showcased in London’s Canary Wharf last September had been described as 95 per cent complete, some crucial parts were still missing – primarily the Nammo rocket booster that will allow the 13.5m racing car to breach the sonic barrier.
The displayed car was essentially a trial-build without fluids, assembled to check the fit of its 3,500 bespoke components. The engineers will now disassemble the car again, while documenting the process in order to create a detailed user manual for the crew that will be preparing the vehicle for its record-breaking attempt next year in South Africa.
The same man who holds the current land speed record, former Royal Airforce pilot Andy Green, will be piloting the Bloodhound car during the run at the Hakskeenpan mud and salt pan of the Kalahari Desert north of Cape Town.
The run will take place two days after the 20th anniversary of the previous record, which was accomplished with the Thurst Supersonic Car at Black Rock Desert, Nevada (USA) on 15 October 1997. During the run, the car reached the top speed of almost 1,278 km/h.
“Bloodhound SSC is one of the most exciting and ground-breaking projects happening in UK,” Jon Hilton, President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which sponsors the project, commented on the schedule announcement.
“The UK is facing an engineering skills shortage and we need projects like Bloodhound SSC to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists about science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. The project is also UK engineering at its most cutting-edge and the open access nature of the project means that the advances made to develop this car could potentially be used in a myriad of different applications and by different industries.”
Before travelling to South Africa, Bloodhound will be tested at limited power at Newquay Airport in Cornwall in June 2017. The test will see the car travelling at only 354 km/h. However, it will provide an opportunity to the support team to make sure data and imagery live-streaming from the rocket-car is working as designed before the actual attempt to smash the record.
The car will travel to South Africa’s Upington aboard a Boeing 747. It will then be transported by road to the team’s desert base at Hakskeen Pan.