Jul 27, 2012
Bloodhound to stretch its legs at Hakskeen Pan in 2013 dry seasonBack
Cape Town|Engineering|Johannesburg|Africa|Components|Africa|Europe|South Africa|United Kingdom|United States|Christmas|Building|Supersonic Car|Black Rock Desert|Andy Green|Magnum|Nevada|Formula One
© Reuse this
The current land speed record, at 1 227 km/h, was set in 1997, by the Thrust supersonic car (SSC). The Bloodhound SSC, named after a decades-old UK missile, would have the same driver the Thrust had: Royal Air Force Wing Commander Andy Green.
The British team working to break the record on Hakskeen Pan, in the Northern Cape, will first aim for a ‘modest’ improvement on the current record, at 1 300 km/h in 2013, with the ultimate goal of 1 600 km/h to be left for 2014, said Green on Thursday.
Officially the fastest man on earth, Green visited South Africa this week to see how work on clearing stones and rocks from the pan was progressing.
“We need to do the run in the dry season, which is the third quarter of 2013 – if everything works out perfectly, which is unlikely. We are building something like a spaceship on a very tight budget,” he told Engineering News Online.
The Bloodhound, which would have the equivalent horsepower of 180 Formula One 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 under a minute. To achieve this, it would make use of a rocket, a jet from a fighter aircraft, and the engine of a F1 racing car, giving the car a helluva lot of thrust at 212 kN.
Green said the Bloodhound’s major chassis components should be assembled by Christmas this year, with the engine, rocket and fuel tank added by the first quarter of next year.
This would be followed by a test programme for the hand-built prototype, which would include some airfield runs. However, warned Green, inclement weather such as seen in the UK this year, might thwart this schedule.
The 1 300 km/h attempt would serve to determine “how the desert reacts”, he added.
The team had to consider the impact of various factors, such as shock waves and rolling resistance – with too little of the latter “creating a problem to stop”.
To officially set the record, the Bloodhound 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, would be key to the success of the record attempt.
“We’ll pause, look at the data, do some re-engineering through the rainy season, and then bring the car back in 2014 for the 1 600 km/h attempt. We need to establish the car’s credibility. This is probably the safest way to do it,” explained Green.
The entire attempt would rack up a bill of roughly R200-million, with two-thirds of this already promised.
“It looks like we have money to build the car. The closer we get to the record attempt, with something to show, the easier it will be to get sponsors,” said Green.
Should the euro collapse, however, through the continued economic turmoil in Europe, it could become “much more difficult” to find sponsors, he added.
TO JOBURG AND BACK
Apparently this piece of desert is no longer flat enough. The surface had to be dead-flat and firm, but with some ‘give’ in it, so the Bloodhound’s solid aluminium wheels could dig in a few centimetres and find lateral grip.
South Africa had the biggest and firmest dried-out lake bed in Hakskeen Pan. However, this pan first had to be cleared of stones of all sizes. If one of the Bloodhound’s front wheels flicked up a stone it could come at the car at the speed of a bullet.
This meant the Bloodhound team had been working with the Northern Cape government to ensure the pan could become a world-class race-track.
Three-hundred local people had now cleared the 19-km-long and 500-m-wide track for the record attempt. This was a 19.5-million m2 area – the largest area ever cleared by hand, said Green.
Work would now start on clearing the track’s side areas.
“It’s like starting in Johannesburg and clearing two lanes of the N1 all the way to Cape Town – and now you have to turn around and do another two lanes,” said Green.
It would be worth it, though, as Hakskeen Pan could be the world’s “most famous piece of track” by this time next year.
As happened with the job of clearing the track, Green said the Bloodhound team would like to see several franchises, such as T-shirts commemorating the record attempt, go to local entrepreneurs.
The Northern Cape would also benefit from local sponsor, MTN, erecting several masts to enable global coverage of the record attempts.
“We need to have video of the event, data on the car, and stream it across the globe. We‘ll also have a huge global audience watching this attempt,” said Green.
This meant the remote Hakskeen Pan would have access to some of the fastest phone and Internet coverage in the country – which seems quite appropriate considering what could happen 12 months from now.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 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.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 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 road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
This Week's Magazine
South Africa remains an important manufacturing and export platform for Ford Motor Company, says executive chairperson Bill Ford. However, he adds that other countries on the continent are “becoming interesting”, and that the US carmaker is casting its net wider for...
Germany’s Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPlfR) are investing €11-million (about R150-million) into South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array programme. The money will be used to design, build and install S-band radio...
Infrastructure spend in sub-Saharan Africa will grow from $70-billion in 2013 to $180-billion by 2025, says PwC capital projects and infrastructure Africa leader Jonathan Cawood. This is one of the findings of PwC’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure report on East...
Private-owned defence and aerospace manufacturer Paramount Group and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation unveiled its Anti-Poaching Skills and K9 Training Academy in Magaliesburg last month.
The inclusion of Bluetooth to provide sub-three meter accuracy and heightened functionality for users is one of the ways to change existing wireless networks into engagement networks. An engagement network differs from common wireless networks in that it enables the...