1,000 MPH Car Passes First Test [VIDEO]

By Amir Khan on October 4, 2012 10:25 AM EDT

Bloodhound Car
Scientists aiming to create a car that can break 1,000 mph cleared a large hurdle yesterday when they successfully tested their rocket engine. (Photo: Bloodhound SSC)

Scientists aiming to create a car that can break 1,000 mph cleared a large hurdle yesterday when they successfully tested their rocket engine. The engine will power the supersonic car known as the Bloodhound SSC -- meant to become the fastest car in the world.

The British team tested the engine in an aircraft shelter in Newquay Cornwall Airport, originally designed to protect fighter planes from bombs. Although the data hasn't fully been analyzed, the researchers said the engine reached 30,000 horsepower during the 10-second burn. Given enough time, they expect the engine to reach 80,000 horsepower and 27,500 pounds of thrust.

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The researchers described the engine as a "hybrid," but it's not the kind you would think. The engine is a mix of a liquid engine, which burns high test peroxide oxidizer, and a solid engine, which burns synthetic rubber.

"It's a proper mashup of technologies. Formula One technology, military and defense technology, rocket technology which is unique -- and putting all that together is a big challenge," Pio Szyjanowicz, a researcher with Cosworth, the company that created the Bloodhound's control system, told ABC News.

Experts said the test went very smooth. These kinds of engines are subject to intense vibrations that can cause it to break apart, but the test went well, Daniel Jubb, one of the team members, told BBC News.

"From what I could see, it looked very smooth indeed; and from the sound, there was not a lot of fluctuation - very steady. But we need to look closely at the chamber pressure trace," he said. "It's an excellent place to go forward."

The engine will be installed into a needle-nose car that is currently under construction. The car will use a jet engine to accelerate to 230 mph before the rocket engine fires, taking the car to 1,050 mph in approximately 42 seconds.

Andy Green, a pilot in the Royal Air Force and the driver of the car, told ABC News that the will cover 12 miles in two minutes.

"You don't feel speed," Green said. You feel the acceleration, how quickly you get there, kind of like a fairly aggressive roller coaster ride."

From here, researchers will test the propulsion system three more times before the final test, which will take place next October on the Hakskeen Pan dry lake bed in South Africa.

The project has been several years in the making, and has nearly exhausted its entire budget, researchers said. However, the public has come to the rescue, ensuring that they will be able to continue for at least the next two years.

"The response from the public has simply been fantastic," Richard Noble, Bloodhound project director, told BBC News. "About £25,000 [$40,000] comes in every month in donations, and that has a big impact on the sponsors because they can see the project has so much good will and support."

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