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Bloodhound SSC team start desert tests

Bloodhound SSC team start desert tests
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The Bloodhound SSC team has begun testing in the South African desert in preparation for the car’s first attempt at the world land speed record in 2015.

Engineers were checking communication systems between two high-performance Jaguar cars and a jet aircraft in the test, which resulted in some spectacular imagery.

They passed each other at a closing speed of just over 800 kmh on a pancake flat stretch of a dry lake bed called Hakskeen Pan in South Africa. This is the same location that will be used by Bloodhound SSC to try to break the land speed record by reaching 800 mph, or 1,287 kmh, next year.

The ultimate aim is for the jet and rocket powered car to reach the headline grabbing figure of 1,000 mph, or 1,609 kmh in 2016.

During the fly-past Bloodhound SSC’s computing specialist Sarah Covell was in the L39 Czech training jet, measuring signal strength to the solar-powered communications towers nearby. Legendary land speed record champion Richard Noble, the figurehead of the project, was behind the wheel of one of the four-wheel drive Jaguars.

The test is important to the team, because they want to be able to live stream three 720p video channels and data from 300 sensors from the Bloodhound SSC car as it hammers down the desert during its record breaking bid.

That’s key, not only for the engineers to see what’s happening in the car, but also because the whole project is oriented towards outreach and education. Those behind Bloodhound SSC say they want to inspire the next generation of engineers, and one of the ways to do that is to encourage schools to follow the tests and the record-breaking bids live from South Africa.

The test was also an opportunity for Bloodhound SSC’s PR team to show off their new partnership with Jaguar, a significant new player in the project which already has a long list of sponsors ranging from small engineering companies to luxury brand Rolex, which built a set of bespoke chronographs for the car’s cockpit.

The Bloodhound SSC car itself is still being painstakingly put together by hand by a small team at the project’s headquarters in Bristol, England. It will be powered by both a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet, as used in the Eurofighter Typhoon, and Nammo hybrid rocket, as used for going to space. The car also boasts a 650hp petrol engine fuel pump.

The machine itself will see the light of day in summer 2015, when it is taken for a series of test runs up to 321kmh on an airstrip in Cornwall, England.

Then it will move to Hakskeen 12 months from now, and current land speed record holder Andy Green will begin his series of runs to try to beat his best of 763 mph, or 1228 kmh.


High speed communications test

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