The Bloodhound is so fast, its creators needed to reinvent the wheel.
Officially dubbed the Bloodhound SSC -- short for supersonic car -- the pencil-shaped racer is meant to become the fastest car
in the world and the first to reach 1,000 miles per hour -- faster than
a speeding bullet. A car that fast doesn't just run on tires. It runs
on 200-pound circles of aerospace aluminum that can absorb 50,000 times
the force of gravity.
"We will have pushed back the boundaries of human endeavor," driver Andy
Green, who flies fighter jets as a wing commander in the Royal Air
Force in his spare time, told ABC News.
The car's statistics are mind boggling. The engine is a combination
rocket (designed by a 28-year-old self-trained rocketeer), race car
engine and fighter jet afterburner that generates six times more power
than all the cars in an Indy car race combined.
Individually, many pieces of the Bloodhound have appeared in race cars
or missiles before. But the rocket is one-of-a-kind and the pieces have
never been combined -- which is why the creators don't know what will
happen when the engine is fired up for the first time in western England
"It's a proper mashup of technologies. Formula One technology, military
and defense technology, rocket technology which is unique -- and putting
all that together is a big challenge," said Pio Szyjanowicz of
Cosworth, the company that created the Bloodhound's control system and
Formula One engine and makes engines for U.S. Navy drones. "Tomorrow
will be a step into the unknown for all of us."
Szyjanowicz acknowledged that while the experiment is expected to work,
the risk is large: "We could end up with a big empty space where the
rocket and engine used to be."
Here's how you get to 1,000 miles an hour in a 40-foot-long titanium and
carbon-fiber car, which the organizers say have taken 30 man-years to
First, a jet engine from a Eurofighter aircraft -- which is
significantly faster than the U.S. Air Force's F-18 Hornet --
accelerates the car to about 300 miles per hour in about 15 seconds.
Green then starts filling the rocket with high test peroxide fuel. So
much fuel is needed (one ton in 20 seconds) that the pump to supply it
is actually a Formula One engine. The pump technology, Szyjanowicz said,
is usually found in an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Green then pushes a button that fills the rocket with fuel and allows it
to hit full power. He accelerates from 350 mph to 1,050 in 25 seconds.
He maintains that speed for one mile (it only takes him 3.5 seconds to
cover the distance) and then he shuts down the rocket, hits the brakes
and deploys a parachute designed to decelerate him from 1,050 to zero in
40 seconds. He'll cover 12 miles in 2 minutes.
"You don't feel speed. You feel the acceleration, how quickly you get
there," Green said. "Kind of like a fairly aggressive roller coaster
Perhaps only Green would describe a deceleration that will subject him
to three times the force of gravity as "fairly aggressive." He has been
flying jets for 20 years, and in 1997 became the first person to break
sound barrier in a car when he set the current land speed record of 763
miles an hour.
To train for this project, Green has been driving race cars and flying
aerobatic aircraft on the weekends. He insists that because of the
nature of the rocket, he isn't concerned about his safety.
"This is an optimal way to produce something very safe and very controllable," he said.
|Liveleak on Facebook|