On 3 October 2012, the Bloodhound Project successfully conducted the first test of its hybrid rocket system at The Aerohub, Newquay Cornwall Airport. At the time, the complete rocket system comprised the Cosworth CA2010 F1 engine, High Test Peroxide oxidiser tank, custom designed gearbox and software and Falcon Hybrid Rocket*.
During the test, which was streamed live to the Web, the rocket burned for 10 seconds, generating 63 000 newtons. Sound levels at the rocket nozzle reached 185 dB, many times that of a Boeing 747 at takeoff.
* This has since changed. The Bloodhound supersonic car now uses the steady power of a Rolls-Royce EJ200 turbofan producing 90 000 newtons of thrust, while a hybrid rocket provides a 20-second boost.
Designed by the Norwegian firm Nammo, which makes stage-separation and acceleration boosters for the European Space Agency’s Ariane 5 launch vehicle, the rocket is an ingenious design that burns a solid synthetic-rubber fuel, but uses liquid high-test peroxide, or HTP, as the oxidiser. The engine consumes a staggering 1 000 litres of HTP in about 20 seconds to achieve peak thrust of 123 000 newtons.
Together, the car’s EJ200 jet and hybrid rocket will generate 213 000 newtons of thrust – eight times more power than all the cars on a Formula 1 starting grid combined.
Read more about the Bloodhound Project – and its quest to develop the world’s first 1 000 mph (that’s 1 609 km/h, or Mach 1,4) racing car – in PM’s April 2014 issue, on sale 24 March.