This summer the first full test firing of a hybrid rocket will hopefully set a new land-speed record by driving 1,000 mph.
Combining a rocket, a jet and a racing car engine into one vehicle is engineering of an extreme sort. A rocket works by burning fuel with an oxidiser, which provides a source of oxygen for combustion. The hot bases are then blasted through a nozzle to produce thrust.
This hybrid design uses a solid fuel called hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene, a form of synthetic rubber to make things like aircraft tires. A Cosworth engine drives a high-speed pump capable of delivering 800 litres of HTP to the rocket in 20 seconds.
The rocket gives the car plenty of power, but it is either on or off. To provide some form of throttle to allow acceleration and deceleration, the vehicle's designers added a jet engine. At about 200 MPH, the Cosworth will start pumping HTP to the rocket.
At about 750 MPH, the car will go through the sounds barrier. The Nevada desert is not big enough. The attempt will take place at Hakskeen Pan in South Africa.
The Bloodhound could reach 1,050 MPH. Then the car must be serviced and refuelled to do it all over again.. This is because the Federation requires two runs be made in opposite directions within one hour.
So far, more than 4,000 schools are taking part.