Nov 14, 2011
Bloodhound team visits SA to drum up support for record attemptBack
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
To subscribe email email@example.com or click here
To advertise email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
Other Automotive News
Updated 1 hour 56 minutes ago South African car and bakkie exports into Africa declined for the third year in a row in 2015, falling from 79 228 units in 2012, to 77 589 units in 2013, 60 189 units in 2014, and 41 446 units last year – this according to the Automotive Industry Export Council’s...
Updated 1 hour 56 minutes ago Hyundai Automotive South Africa (HASA) hopes to see 2016 sales reach around the same level as 2015, defying a South African new-vehicle market most analysts agree will drop around 10% this year.
Updated 1 hour 56 minutes ago A 30c/l increase in the fuel levy, another rise in interest rates and new consignor/consignee legislation will all load more costs onto a transport industry that is already struggling to remain profitable, says Standard Bank business vehicle and asset finance head...
Recent Research Reports
Energy Roundup – May 2016 (PDF Report)
The May 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for April 2016 and includes details of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s proposal to introduce a coal benchmark cost as part of its final decision on Eskom’s multiyear price determination...
Automotive 2016: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Automotive 2016 Report provides an overview of South Africa’s automotive industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into local demand and production, vehicle imports and exports, investment and competitiveness in the sector, as well...
Energy Roundup – April 2016 (PDF Report)
The April 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for March 2016 and includes details of a North Gauteng High Court Judge’s dismissal of a court application to postpone the 9.4% electricity tariff increase, which the National Energy Regulator of South...
Electricity 2016: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2016 report provides an overview of South Africa’s electricity sector, focusing on State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Energy Roundup – March 2016 (PDF Report)
The March 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for February 2016 and includes details of the Department of Energy’s plans to announce the preferred bidders for the first tranche of the coal independent power producer procurement programme; the Council...
Steel 2016: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2016 Report examines South Africa’s steel industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the global steel market and and particularly into South South Africa’s steel sector, including production and consumption, main...
This Week's Magazine
Updated 1 hour 53 minutes ago Following the drop in commodity prices and China’s demand for Africa’s resources, African economies were slumping and gross domestic product growth was stagnating in most of the continent’s emerging markets, said the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, or...
Updated 1 hour 53 minutes ago The New Development Bank, a multilateral lender formerly known as the Brics Development Bank, will provide $811-million in a first round of loans for clean energy projects in four nations.
Updated 1 hour 53 minutes ago South African car and bakkie exports into Africa declined for the third year in a row in 2015, falling from 79 228 units in 2012, to 77 589 units in 2013, 60 189 units in 2014, and 41 446 units last year – this according to the Automotive Industry Export Council’s...
Updated 1 hour 53 minutes ago Networking systems multinational Cisco is training 75 people as part of a pilot project to develop specialist networking skills in South Africa, says Cisco South Africa CTO Vernon Thaver. The trainees were nominated by and selected from Cisco’s local partners and...
Updated 1 hour 53 minutes ago The threat landscape is changing, along with technologies, impacting on new fields, such as industrial infrastructure, which is becoming increasingly connected. Smart cities are also developing fast through connected devices, Web services and cloud solutions, but...