What's it take to beat the land speed record? A rocket-powered car that could be ripped straight from the pages of a golden-age science fiction comic, that's what. If all goes to plan, the UK's Bloodhound team is on track to break the 763mph hour record by some margin, taking to the desert of the Northern Cape province in South Africa in 2016 to become the first to reach speeds of over 1,000mph on land.
Before that astonishing feat can be attempted however, rigorous safety tests must be carried out. Perhaps most important of all is the Bloodhound SSC vehicle's rocket boosters. Hybrid rockets developed by Nammo, you can see one being fired up in the video below. As well as powering the land speed effort, the rockets will be used to launch small satellites into orbit from the Andøya Space Centre in Northern Norway.
That's a controlled test of 16 seconds, producing 30Kn (3 tonnes) of thrust from a single rocket. They'll be stuck onto the Bloodhound in a cluster of three. Because a single rocket on a car clearly isn't mad enough.
But that's not all -- the Nammo rockets on the Bloodhound SSC will be paired with a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet from a Eurofighter Typhoon as well as a supercharged Jaguar V8 engine that drives the rocket oxidiser pump. Between the three components, 135,000 thrust hp (equivalent to 180 F1 cars) will be generated. Hats off to Wing Commander Andy Green then -- he's the fearless soul that has to drive the thing.