Last week we brought you video of British pilot Andy Green describing what it was like breaking the sound barrier by going 763.035 miles per hour in the Thurst SSC on the 20th anniversary of that record-setting run in 1997. Today, at an airport in southwestern England, he drove the successor vehicle, the Bloodhound SSC, at speeds reaching 200 mph in a key test toward the ultimate goal of hitting 1,000 mph.
Green made two successful runs, hitting speeds of more than 200 mph in 8 seconds in at least one run. "The car did exactly what we were looking for, two runs of just over 200 miles per hour," Green was quoted as saying. "This is a proper fast car. We came here to show the world Bloodhound is go, and I cannot think of a better way of having done that."
The Bloodhound SSC uses an EJ200 jet engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon and a rocket cluster under development by Norwegian company Nammo, plus a Jaguar supercharged V8 engine, which acts as an auxiliary power unit to drive the rocket oxidizer pump. The system delivers 135,000 thrust horsepower, more than eight times the power of the cars on the Formula One race car grid combined. Thursday's test run relied only on the jet engine for propulsion.
Next up is another test run in 2018, location TBD. During the Facebook Live stream, Bloodhound engineers said they'll need to test the vehicle's aerodynamics and how it handles the massive shock waves it will generate. One of the biggest challenges, one engineer said, is to prevent the vertical forces from driving it into the ground, effectively turning it into "the world's fastest plow." The final attempt will be made on a dried-up lake bed in South Africa, as early as 2019.