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)
Updated 5 hours ago The South African National Accreditation System (Sanas), which operated under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is embarking on a drive to develop synergistic accreditation bodies across Africa to bolster international trade. The continent’s...
Updated 5 hours ago Electricity utility Eskom says it and Anglo American have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that maps out the process to be followed to enable the parties to conclude a final coal-supply contract for the Kusile power station, which is currently being...
Updated 5 hours ago South Africa has dropped four places to rank eighty-third in the World Energy Council’s 2014 Energy Trilemma Index as the country’s performance remained stagnant, while other countries such as China and Nigeria improved their rankings. The WEC Energy Trilemma Index...
Recent Research Reports
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.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
JSE-listed real estate investment trust (REIT) Rebosis Property Fund achieved a distribution growth of 8.1% to 99.45c per linked unit in the financial year ended August 31, despite volatile market conditions.
A low-cost, inflatable incubator won this year’s international James Dyson design award, which aims to encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers.
The World Bank released its ‘Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency’ report last month and ranked South Africa 43 out of 189 global economies for its ease of doing business, with Singapore topping the rankings.
Air Products South Africa officially launched its R300-million Eastern Cape air- separation unit (ASU), at its new manufacturing facility in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), earlier this month. It is the second facility that Air Products launched in South...
BMW South Africa (SA) has signed a power purchasing agreement with energy company Bio2Watt. The offtake partnership will bring renewable energy to the carmaker’s Rosslyn plant, north of Pretoria.