Rocket test fires up car boffins
A ROCKET that will power a 1,000mph car capable of travelling faster than a bullet was successfully tested at Newquay airport on Wednesday.
A roar was heard across the town and nearby villages as the Falcon rocket, which was bolted to the floor in an aircraft hangar, was ignited for the first time.
It is hoped the contraption will eventually help the supersonic Bloodhound car to trounce the current land speed record of 763mph.
The Cornish Guardian was first to break the news of the planned test back in June.
Around 400 guests and journalists gathered at the Aerohub to watch the ten-second test – via video link from the safety of a nearby shelter.
Also watching was the driver, RAF pilot Andy Green, project director Richard Noble and chief aero engineer Ron Ayres.
The car is powered by the rocket, a Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine and a Formula One race car engine.
The main challenge faced by boffins was getting the fuel grain in the hybrid rocket to burn smoothly and evenly.
Mr Green said: "Firing the whole end-to-end rocket system as a unit, for the first time, is really exciting. By the end of 2012, we will have test-fired the rocket, we will have the car going on to its wheels and we will be turning this into a running vehicle.
"We've done good ideas, we've done detailed design - this is now transition to reality. This is actually happening and we are going to have a car next year."
The land speed record attempt is expected to take place on a dried-out lake bed in South Africa at the end of 2013.
Mr Noble added: "The response from the public has simply been fantastic."
Al Titterington, managing director of Newquay airport, said the test was a huge boost to the Aerohub Enterprise Zone.
He said: "The airport's extensive infrastructure has been used for this exciting engineering project and we believe the success of today will generate significant interest across the globe and we were glad to be a part of it.
"We are pleased to support this event and we hope it helps to demonstrate the many business opportunities at England's only aerospace specific enterprise zone."