A British workforce is growing a automotive that will likely be able to reaching 1,000mph (1,610km/h). Powered by a rocket bolted to a Eurofighter-Hurricane jet engine, the car goals to indicate its potential by going progressively quicker, 12 months after 12 months. Current high-speed trials noticed Bloodhound hit 628mph (1,010km/h). The following step can be to interrupt the prevailing world land pace document (763mph; 1,228km/h). The racing is performed on Hakskeen Pan in Northern Cape, South Africa.
Now that Bloodhound is again within the UK, we’re busy planning for the following step of the journey.
With final 12 months’s vastly profitable Excessive Pace Take a look at programme accomplished, we have got plenty of knowledge to work by means of.
There’s additionally a rocket system to suit, which is able to blast the automotive from final 12 months’s jet-powered 628mph to subsequent 12 months’s 800+ mph goal.
First, although, we have got to safe the remainder of the sponsorship for a brand new World Land Pace Report.
The excellent news is that we have now obtained a very robust industrial case for potential backers.
We are able to present that the automotive is quick – actually quick – with loads of efficiency subsequent 12 months to set a shocking new document.
Simply as importantly for any potential sponsor, we are able to present that there’s a actual international curiosity on this venture.
Our current Excessive Pace Testing generated virtually £50m of one thing referred to as “promoting worth equal” (AVE).
It is a measure of how a lot cash you’d should spend in adverts to attain the identical media protection.
Sponsors understandably need an AVE that’s a number of instances as huge as their funding.
This is the excellent news – Bloodhound’s testing generated a “return on funding” of between 10 and 15 instances, which is a big quantity for a sponsorship occasion.
In fact, that is not counting the hundreds of thousands of Facebook/YouTube/Twitter followers (thanks all!), or the BBC’s wonderful 30-minute documentary which was proven over a dozen instances in the course of the Christmas interval.
There’s additionally a one-hour documentary in manufacturing proper now (particulars to observe). That is what success appears to be like like – and that is just for testing.
Simply think about the protection subsequent 12 months, when sonic booms reverberate down our South African race observe as we smash by means of 800mph.
There have to be somebody on the market who desires to share on this international journey and, primarily based on the industrial discussions we’re having proper now, we’ll discover them!
As soon as we have got the funding sorted, we are able to crack on with the rocket programme.
Final 12 months Bloodhound obtained to 628mph (1,010 km/h) utilizing simply the jet engine.
Including the rocket motor will give us one other 75% improve in thrust.
As our Chief Engineer Mark Chapman noticed: “If you happen to suppose it appears to be like quick now, wait till you see the rocket hearth.”
For subsequent 12 months’s 800+ mph document runs, we’re planning to make use of a monopropellant rocket, which makes use of a catalyst pack to decompose concentrated hydrogen peroxide (often called high-test peroxide, or HTP).
Pumping the HTP over a silver-based catalyst will break the molecules down, releasing an enormous quantity of vitality because it does so: H₂O₂ goes to H₂O plus O₂ plus plenty of warmth (the exhaust comes out at about 600C).
The rocket exhaust blasts out at Mach 3, or Three instances the pace of sound, about 2,200mph. Blimey. As Mark stated, “…simply wait till you see the rocket hearth…”.
The pumping system to make this occur is sort of difficult. We have to generate 50-60 kN (5-6 tonnes) of thrust.
That requires us to pump about 40kg of HTP per second, at about 70-80 Bar.
That is the equal of filling your tub at house in three seconds, at 1,000psi.
To ship this sort of move charge and strain, the pump will want 500-600hp to run it.
Fortuitously, expertise has lastly caught up with our pump calls for, so we’ll ditch the massive petrol engine and go all-electric for the rocket system.
Bloodhound goes to be the world’s first plug-in hybrid Land Pace Report automotive, because of our “inexperienced” rocket system.
The automotive will actually be blasted alongside on a high-pressure jet of steam and oxygen.
The Nammo engineers who’re constructing the rocket joined us out on Hakskeen Pan final 12 months throughout our take a look at runs.
This gave them an opportunity to see how and the place their rocket would function, how we’d refuel the car, and so forth.
The extraordinary factor is how small the rocket motor will likely be (they explain it in more detail here).
It is lower than half a metre in diameter and about the identical size. It will enable it to bolt immediately on to the present “thrust plate” on the rear of the automotive.
Putting in the pump, electrical motors, battery pack, management system and so forth could also be barely extra sophisticated, however nothing that Bloodhound LSR’s exceptional engineering workforce cannot ship.
For our 800mph runs, the opposite main change we want is to activate the airbrakes.
We examined the airbrake panels final 12 months, locking them out into the airflow to verify the drag predictions.
Turbulent high-speed airflow is just about not possible to mannequin precisely, so testing is all the time suggested.
The airbrakes labored completely, giving virtually precisely the anticipated structural masses and aerodynamic drag forces. With these panel masses confirmed, we now want to suit the actuation system, to power the large carbon-fibre panels out into the airflow at 400-500mph.
The airbrakes will simply cease the automotive earlier than the top of our 12-mile observe.
Nonetheless, the stopping little bit of the run is one bit that we have to get proper each single time.
To ensure that we are able to cease the automotive within the occasion of a techniques failure, we may have three completely different choices subsequent 12 months: the airbrakes, a backup brake parachute, and a second (backup-backup) brake chute.
It is safety-critical, so you possibly can by no means be too cautious.
Testing the brake chutes was one other a part of final 12 months’s success story.
They labored completely, each single time, all the best way as much as 600mph.
At this pace, the chute produces virtually 60 kN (6 tonnes) of drag, giving a sudden 1G of additional deceleration because it deploys.
I used to be all the time concentrating onerous on controlling the automotive, so I did not realise fairly how “brisk” this deceleration was till I watched the 360-degree cockpit video after the run and noticed how far my helmet was thrown forwards. Have a look here – the chute comes out at about 1:30.
Sponsors to seek out, a rocket to suit, airbrakes to activate – we have got loads to do over the following 12-18 months.
On the plus facet, we have got a terrific automotive, already confirmed to effectively over 600mph, and a terrific workforce to make it occur.
Even higher, we have got a ready-made viewers of hundreds of thousands.
Bloodhound is about showcasing the easiest of science and expertise – it is a international “Engineering Journey” at supersonic speeds – and primarily based on what we noticed throughout final 12 months’s testing, it’ll ship in spades.