The Bloodhound SSC project has reached a momentous milestone with the first test of the Land Speed Record contender's rocket engine.
The British team, run by Richard Noble, test-fired the 18inch hybrid rocket inside a hardened shelter at Newquay airport, Cornwall, UK. According to Bloodhound's rocket engineer Dan Jubb, the test was the biggest rocket firing in the UK for more than 20 years.
Speaking after yesterday's performance and safety test, Dan said: "It went very well; the initial analysis suggests the rocket performed beyond our expectations."
Chief engineer Mark Chapman added: "It gives the team a lot of confidence, but to the outside world, it's important also because this shows we are about real engineering.”
The rocket test was the most accessible to the public since the early stages of NASA's Apollo program, and it didn't disappoint.
Bloodhound will use a Eurofighter Typoon jet engine to get it up to 230mph before driver Andy Green fires the rocket, which will generate 25,000lb ft of thrust during the record attempt. A Cosworth F1 engine also plays a part, not to drive the car but to pump fuel to the rocket.
The Bloodhound SSC team plan to beat the current Land Speed Record of 763mph next year in South Africa and then attempt to break the 1000mph barrier in 2014.