July 19, 2010

SuperSonic Car Model Unveiled At UK Airshow

A full scale replica of the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car (SSC) - a 40-plus foot long vehicle designed to go more than 1,000 mph - was unveiled over the weekend at the Farnborough International Air Show.

According to BBC News Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos, the Bloodhound SSC is the brainchild of a British team that includes Chief Engineer Mark Chapman, Wing Commander Andy Green, Project Director Richard Noble, and Chief Aerodynamicist Ron Ayers. Amos reports that the 1:1 model was completed following three years of aerodynamic study, and that construction on the real vehicle will begin early next year.

"The team has announced that aerospace manufacturer Hampson Industries will begin building the rear of the real vehicle in the first quarter of 2011," Amos says in a July 19 article. "Another deal to construct the front end with a second company is very close."

"We now have a route to manufacture for the whole car," Chapman told the BBC on Monday. "We would hope to be able to shake down the vehicle on a runway in the UK either at the end of 2011 or at the beginning of 2012."

If the Bloodhound is successful in its attempt to crack the 1,000 mph mark, it will establish a new land-speed record. According to Amos, the existing mark of 763 mph was set by the Thrust SuperSonic Car in 1997, of which Green, Ayers, and Noble were all part of. Following the runway tests, the Bloodhound is expected to be shipped to a dried-up lakebed in the Northern Cape of South Africa.

"The team believes Bloodhound's superior aerodynamic shape, allied to the immense power of its Falcon hybrid rocket and Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine, will take the blue and orange car beyond 1,000mph (1,610km/h)," Amos writes.

The actual, completed vehicle is expected to weigh an estimated six metric tons.

Another aspect of the Bloodhound project is an educational initiative designed to help encourage kids to become interested in and involved with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. According to a July 19 article posted to the official project website, more than 3,400 primary and secondary schools, 229 colleges and 40 universities are enrolled in the program, with roughly 1.5 million primary and secondary school children participating.

"The Farnborough International Airshow provides us with an amazing opportunity to show young people, their teachers and the World's leading aerospace companies how the Bloodhound Engineering Adventure has started to influence so many pupils in a very short period of time." Dave Rowley, the Bloodhound Education Director said. "The uniqueness of being able to share such leading edge technology with pupils from five years of age, when they are at their most receptive, is starting to have a positive effect on them considering STEM related career options."


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