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The Bloodhound supersonic car goes on show in London’s Victoria Street

bloodhound1One advantage of staying and working in Westminster is that you sometimes see really neat stuff outside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.  Yesterday they put Bloodhound SSC on show outside the entrance at the top of Victoria Street.  The SSC stands for supersonic car, which is what it is.  It is designed to go not only supersonic, but to exceed 1,000mph when it makes its attempt on the world land speed record.  It is a car, with two wheels within the body and two rear ones mounted externally, and it is fully within the control of the driver.  It was originally intended to be rocket powered, but the team later opted for both a turbofan engine and a rocket motor to give it greater control.  The EJ200 jet is the one that powers the Typhoon Eurofighter, and the rocket is a hybrid, using a solid propellant and a liquid oxidizer.  The combination chosen uses hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB), a synthetic rubber, as its primary fuel, with HTP, concentrated hydrogen peroxide, as its oxidizer.

The project draws heavily on previous technology, with the oxidant pump, for example, based on one that powered the Blue Steel cruise missile.  Similarly the HTP is that which was used in the UK space programme on both Black Knight and Black Arrow rockets.  It also involves several universities, notably the University of the West of England at Bristol, Swansea University and Sheffield University, and has several big name sponsors including Rolls Royce.  It looks like a pretty exciting venture, driving both innovation and education.

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