The Reasons Why They're Building the Car which is Faster than a Speeding Bullet

Another Sunday post for the more relaxed side of news: The Car Faster Than a Speeding Bullet.
Formula 1 is seen as the apogee of engineering excellence and automotive power. So it says something that in Bloodhound SSC — the car that, if all goes well, in 2013 will shatter the current land speed record — the Cosworth Formula 1 engine is just the fuel pump.

We are creating the ultimate car; we’re going where no-one has gone before,” said Richard Noble, the project director.

The car, which Mr. Noble says takes £10,000 a day just to keep it ticking over, will be powered by not one, but two other engines. The smaller one, the EJ200, is normally found in the British Royal Air Force’s Typhoon jet. Its job is to get the 13.4 meter long car up to 350 miles per hour.

That’s when the big one kicks in. The big one is the 18-inch diameter, 12-foot-long Falcon rocket, the largest of its kind ever made in the U.K. Its job is to catapult the car through the sound barrier to its maximum speed of 1,050 mph. That is, literally, faster than a speeding bullet.

To get there, the Cosworth CA2010 engine has to inject one ton of fuel into the rocket within 20 seconds. That’s why you need an F1 engine as a fuel pump. Cosworth is also providing the rocket control system which will manage the ignition, fuel supply and shutdown of the Falcon rocket. The Northampton-based company is also providing the telemetric system.

The triumvirate of power together form the most powerful land vehicle ever built.

Wing Commander Andy Green will pilot the car as it speeds across the Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape, in South Africa in 2013. If successful, Bloodhound will not only shatter the current land speed record — held by Wing Cmdr. Green in Thrust SSC and standing at 763.035 mph — but given the altitude of the Hakskeen Pan, around 3,000 feet, it will also exceed the official air speed record at low altitude (which stands at 994 mph).
You might be wandering why I am posting about a car that costs so much to build and is practically completely useless? This seems a very wasteful project indeed, specially in these current times of economic depression.

That was exactly my reaction when I first saw this report a few months ago (already!). But, then, the conclusion perfectly adhered with my impressions: currently, a lot of highly educated talent (Master holders and PhDs in hard sciences) waste their knowledge, time and efforts in doing silly financial related jobs such as financial analyst, trader, quants, etc.  This must come to an end for our society to be able to move forward. And so I couldn't agree more with the objective of this project:
Bloodhound is not just about shattering records, says Mr. Noble: “The primary objective of Bloodhound is to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in science and engineering.”
I wish them success beyond their expectations indeed.


Anonymous said...

I have a PhD in engineering.

In finance people get at least paid. Who needs an engineer in the US? Engineers will be needed in the BRIC countries in the future but not in the US. It is extremely easy to outsource R&D.

Hence, if you need to rely on your wage to make a living, don't study hard sciences or become an MD. MDs do science too but they can always fall back on their trade - treating patients. But engineers?

pej said...

Hey Anonymous
You've got some very good points indeed. But... as there's always a but... if you look at the marvels coming out of Apple's Cupertino centers, and Google's Palo Alto, you might accept that there's future in hard science and research. Instead, so many PhDs and MsCs I know are wasting their lives in becoming quant analysts or even lower jobs in the finance industry (myself included mate!)