Nov 14, 2011
Bloodhound team visits SA to drum up support for record attemptBack
Johannesburg|Education|South Africa Inc|Europe|Australia|South Africa|United Kingdom|Humankind Travel|Local Media|Supersonic Car|Andy Green|Hazel Jenkins|Magnum|Formula One
© Reuse this
The current land speed record was set in 1997, by the Thrust supersonic car (SSC), at 1 227 km/h. Bloodhound SSC, named after a decades-old UK missile, would feature the same driver as the Thrust had – Royal Air Force Wing Commander Andy Green, who then also led the Bloodhound team visit to South Africa.
Green – officially the fastest man on earth – explained that there was more to the R150-million endeavour than the breaking of records.
“Yes, we want to break the record, but we also want to create a global showcase for science and technology. The UK, Europe and South Africa have a critical shortage of engineers and scientists. We hope the project will inspire young people to become engineers, mathematicians and scientists.”
This ambition was the driving force behind a global special-focus education programme linked to the Bloodhound project. This programme encompassed a range of activities and curriculum resources on how a machine could achieve such speeds on land. A number of South African schools had also signed up.
However, in the end, the major thrill still rested in the actual vehicle and that magical run that would make humankind travel ever faster.
The second quarter of the same year would see the start of UK testing, followed by testing at incrementally faster speeds in South Africa.
It was not a matter of simply getting in and driving, warned Green. Testing started at low speeds, eventually moving up to 1 600 km/h. This said, though, the car would probably spend 1.5 hours of its life with the wheels turning.
The Bloodhound, with the equivalent horsepower of 180 Formula One (F1) racing cars, was designed to cover 16 km in less than two minutes, and to blast from zero to 1 600 km/h – or 1.4 times the speed of sound, and faster than a bullet fired from a Magnum .357 – in 42 seconds.
To achieve this, the vehicle would make use of a rocket, a jet from a fighter aircraft, and the engine of a F1 racing car.
Hakskeen Pan had been chosen as the site for the record attempt from 34 others, with the site nearly perfect in meeting the team’s requirements: It had to be at least 16 km long, with a 1.6-km clear runoff at each end, and it also had to be flat, as well as firm enough to support the 7-t Bloodhound at full charge.
The only hurdle was the number of stones on the site, which were currently being removed by hand by a 300-strong team of Northern Cape locals – a job which should be completed by next year.
The problem with stones was that they become projectiles. If the front wheels flicked up a stone it could come at the car at the speed of a bullet.
To officially set the record, the Bloodhound SSC would need to complete two runs in opposite directions within one hour. The average speed of the two runs would then be taken as the speed achieved. This meant the ability to control the car’s stopping and, therefore, the turnaround time, was key to the success of the record attempt.
ATTEMPT TO AID NORTHERN CAPE’S UNIVERSITY AMBITIONS
The Northern Cape provincial government was working to establish itself as an extreme sports destination, said premier Hazel Jenkins, with the Bloodhound record attempt set to enhance the province’s appeal to adrenaline junkies.
However, it might also serve to stimulate the province’s ambitions to establish an university within its borders, as the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga were the only two provinces in South Africa without such tertiary institutions, said Jenkins in Johannesburg.
Other Northern Cape projects that also created impetus for the establishment of a science university included the proposed solar park and solar farm development near Upington, and the Square Kilometre Array radio-telescope project – should South Africa outbid Australia as the host of this programme.
Jenkins said parliament had already approved the establishment of a Northern Cape university, but that the institution’s focus still had to be given the go-ahead. The Northern Cape was, however, bidding to establish a science-focused university, providing education to the Southern African Development Community.
It was hoped the university might open its doors in 2014, but Jenkins added that securing funding might prove difficult.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 Report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
Projects in Progress - Second Edition (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s second Projects in Progress supplement considers some of the major project developments under way, including high-profile energy and transport projects, as well as a few of the lower-profile public and private developments. What remains apparent is...
Water 2013: A review of South Africa’s water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2013 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Canadian Mining Roundup for June 2013 (PDF Report)
The June 2013 roundup includes details of the development of TSX-V-listed Aldridge Minerals’ flagship Yenipazar polymetallic project, in Turkey; the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s renewal of Cameco’s uranium mining licence pertaining to the Cigar Lake...
This Week's Magazine
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) has introduced a 4x2 derivative of its Pajero Sport sports-utility vehicle (SUV), which will give it access to a substantial slice of the full-size SUV market, where it will compete with the likes of the Ford Everest, Chevrolet...
South African Energy Minister Ben Martins has affirmed that the government wants the country to be globally competitive in the nuclear sector. "Our responsibility has always been ... to ensure that, in nuclear energy, South Africa can compete with the rest of the...
Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) president and CEO Dr Martin Zimmermann describes the new S-Class as “a special place to be”, with the car creating a sense of “wellness” once you are seated inside the German brand’s flagship model. It is difficult to argue...
Water scarcity and water-quality issues are broadly recognised and understood in most political, business and civil organisations in South Africa, but solving water issues will require wide and continuous action in catchments and municipalities by organisations and...
Work is well under way on the R212-million Imvutshane dam, 30 km north-west of Stanger, in KwaZulu-Natal, which is a key link in supplying people in rural Maphumulo with a reliable source of safe drinking water.