The Bloodhound project was announced on the 23rd of October back in 2008 and was expected to break the land speed record in 2011/2012. However, the design team took a longer time than expected while trying to find the best aerodynamic shape to ensure that the car is stable on the ground. In 2013 and 2015, the team was still trying out various designs with a few build issues to take care of, forcing them to announce further delays of this supersonic car.
According to Mr.Noble, the sponsors of this machine has been supportive and understanding all along. He said that the team is done with the back-breaking bit, and the car is now in their technical centre in Bristol just about to make the run. He, however, pointed out that they need to do the final touches in a haste so that people don’t give up on them.
The Rocket Question
The good thing is that the engineers of the Bloodhound have enough time to come up with a race configuration as they strive at perfecting on their hybrid power unit. They can either run the car using a monopropellant HTP thruster, or a full hybrid system. With the former, the system will not be using fuel grain, that is the synthetic rubber. The hydrogen peroxide which acts as the oxidiser is decomposed to produce the thrust by pumping it through a particular catalyst.
It is quite easier to get the Bloodhound for the second of two runs, which must be completed within one hour to claim a new record using the monopropellant rocket. It is also simpler to use this system, and it can get the car up to 800mph. However, to match or exceed the 1,000mph, which is the ultimate goal of the project, the team must employ the full hybrid system.
The full hybrid system is relatively expensive, and it requires the burning of solid fuel in the presence of the liquid oxidiser. Nammo, together with other engineers will be exploring the options, but the hybrid rocket is being anticipated to be powered by solid hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene and liquid high-test peroxide. Mr Chapman, the Bloodhound’s chief engineer, pointed out that they would consider going with the monopropellant for the first one year, but run with a cluster of around three hybrid systems in the end.
In the interim, the Bloodhound project education programme continues in about 7, 500 schools in the UK. The project aims at inspiring the next generation to get involved in science, technology, mathematics and engineering. Once the car is ready, it will be dong a low-speed run in the UK later in this year, and another one next year (April/May 2017) in South Africa.