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Bloodhound supersonic car set for October trials

June 13, 2017

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The Bloodhound supersonic car will run for the first time on 26 October.

It is going to conduct a series of "slow speed" trials on the runway at Newquay airport in Cornwall.

Engineers want to shake down the vehicle's systems before heading out to South Africa next year to try to break the land speed record.

This stands at 763mph (1,228km/h), and Bloodhound's aim is to raise the mark in two stages - by getting first to 800mph and then to 1,000mph.

The Newquay trials will not see anything like those speeds. The 9,000ft-long (2,744m) runway at the former RAF base is simply too short to allow Bloodhound to use the full thrust at its disposal.

Instead, driver Andy Green will take the car up to about 200mph using just its Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine. The rocket motor that would ordinarily provide additional power will not even be in the car as its development has yet to be completed.
 
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Nonetheless, engineers see the Newquay event as an important opportunity to gain some key early data on a rolling Bloodhound.
 
In between all this publicity activity, Mark Chapman's team will be trying to understand how the air enters the jet intake at slow speed and what that means for managing the power unit's performance. It will also be the first chance to assess all of the electronics built into the car.
 
It will be a critical day too for driver Andy Green, because it will be his first experience of the steering feel, throttle and brake action, noise and vibration - things that cannot be truly simulated in a computer.

The expectation is that Bloodhound will head to Hakskeen Pan - a dried-out lakebed in Northern Cape, South Africa - in just over a year's time to begin its assault on that initial 800mph target.

For this to happen, the next phase of rocket development has to be concluded.

The Norwegian aerospace company, Nammo, will supply the motor and has a basic unit available already. However, the Bloodhound team wants the thrust levels increased slightly, and that requires a period of testing.

October marks the 20th anniversary of Andy Green setting the existing land speed record in a car called Thrust SSC.

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