Science & Environment

Bloodhound diary: Back in the driving seat

A British team is developing a car that will capable of reaching 1,000mph (1,610km/h).

Powered by a rocket bolted to a Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine, the Bloodhound SSC (SuperSonic Car) vehicle will mount an assault on the land speed record.

Wing Commander Green is writing a diary for the BBC News Website about his experiences working on the Bloodhound SSC (SuperSonic Car) project and the team's efforts to inspire national interest in science and engineering.

I have just returned from southern Italy, where I was deployed to run Royal Air Force operations over Libya.

Image caption The day job is with the RAF

It was a hugely successful air campaign which has, I hope, given the Libyan people a chance to determine their own future. Our success in Libya was due to the fantastic people that I work with - which is why I think I've got the best day job in the world.

With the campaign over, I returned to the UK to find that another remarkable group of people, the Bloodhound team, have also been doing amazing things with technology.

The manufacture of the car is moving ahead and we are firmly on course to set a World Land Speed Record in 2013. Working with this bunch has to be the best holiday job in the world.

The final aerodynamic tweaks are now being made to the surface of the car, as we have to release the shape shortly for manufacture.

Image caption The 1,000mph office, shown in kit form

The Advanced Composites Group has just committed itself as one of our product sponsors, which is great news. They will be making our composite components, including the all-important cockpit section - my 1,000mph office.

At the back end of the car, the rear subframe design is now complete and in manufacture. This key piece of the chassis carries the hybrid rocket and the rear suspension - so it's a seriously strong piece of kit.

The UK full-size rocket testing has been delayed slightly, as some more work was required on the test site (sorry, cant tell you where it is just yet - but we will soon). Meanwhile, our Rocket genius Daniel Jubb has had another successful test firing of the 15 cm development rocket.

The firing was covered on the BBC's Bang Goes The Theory programme, which of course I didn't get to watch.

Image caption Keeping the back wheels in place

However, thanks to our new TV channel, Cisco Bloodhound TV, I did get to see the recent rocket test after all. Can't wait for the full-size test firing.

In preparation for our full-size tests (25,000 lb of thrust - more than 70,000 thrust horsepower), we've now had the High Test Peroxide (HTP) oxidiser tank delivered by ABC Stainless, which completed the rocket test rig that was on display this summer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Cisco Bloodhound TV has also kept me amused with some other great clips while I've been away.

My favourite is Ron Ayers, our aerodynamicist and performance expert, explaining how Bloodhound got its unique shape.

Image caption Daniel ponders the test firing...

This piece of video is just brilliantly simple. I especially like Ron's comment, "Our driver insists on seeing where's he going so we better give him a windscreen…".

Ron has also taken the opportunity to explain the performance curves for the car (which are a bit of a mystery to start with). I'll be honest, though, I'm still struggling to visualise a car that will be 10 miles away from a standing start in 100 seconds - particularly with me inside it.

Our TV channel is also another great way of explaining the technology behind the project.

Our main aim is still to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and the education team has been working hard over the summer.

Image caption Bloodhound's rocket: 75,000 hp in a tube

We now have more than 4,700 schools signed up to our education programme, which is a unique way to make science in school more fun.

If your school isn't signed up yet, then sign up now - it's fun and free. Another exciting bit of our education programme kicked off recently, with the opening of the Bloodhound Education Centre in Bristol.

The Education Programme continues to be recognised for its success in promoting science and engineering.

The Institute of Engineering Designers presented Bloodhound with its annual award for promoting design. Well done guys - now get back to work, we've got a car to build.

Desert preparation has continued over the summer, with a huge amount of work being done by the Northern Cape Government.

Image caption Roland Dennison, Mark Chapman, Tony Parraman and Steve Lewis receive the award

They are well on course to set our first world record, for the largest area ever cleared by hand, as they prepare some 25 sq km of surface for Bloodhound to use in 2013.

It's a staggering task and we couldn't do it without their help. It's also great to see that members of our supporters' club, the 1K Club, have been out to Hakskeen Pan to help with the preparation, including the Van Noordwyck family who drove across South Africa to see the fledgling track and help to prepare it.

I have the privilege this month of presenting the annual John Orr Lecture series in South Africa, so while I am over there we will take the time to go out to the pan.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how it's going and spending some time helping with the track preparation. If you are in the area, then we plan to be there on Saturday 19 November - please come along and say hello (but don't be surprised if you end up helping to clear the track).

Image caption Hakskeen Pan: Preparing the world’s best race track

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites