Bloodhound to test fire hybrid rocket

The British development team behind the Bloodhound Project is to undertake the first full test firing of its 122kN (27,000lbs) prototype hybrid rocket in the UK. Created especially for the Bloodhound SSC land speed record car, it will be the largest rocket tested in this country for 20 years.

The announcement was made at Cosworth HQ in Northampton. The rocket has been designed and manufactured by The Falcon Project, a Manchester based rocket designer, led by Daniel Jubb and a sites are now being evaluated for the test which will take place this summer. Constructed with safety in mind, the rocket combines solid fuel with a liquid oxidiser to create its power. This will enable driver Andy Green to shut off the flow of oxidiser and extinguish the rocket if required. At 4m long, 45.7cm in diameter and weighing 400Kg, the Falcon rocket is the largest hybrid ever designed in the UK. It will burn for 20s per run, during which time it will consume 181Kgs of solid fuel and 963g of oxidiser to produce 122kN (27,500 lbs) peak thrust (equivalent to 77,500hp, or the combined power of 645 family saloon cars). This will be in addition to the 90kN (20,000lbs) of thrust provided by the car's other main engine – a state of the art EJ 200 jet from a Eurofighter. There are four main elements to the propulsion package: a solid fuel combustion chamber; a liquid oxidiser and a pumping system, and the associated control system. The rocket itself consists of a solid fuel made from synthetic rubber (HTPB, or Hydroxyl-Terminated Polybutadiene, similar to that used in aircraft tyres) with metal powders and burning rate modifiers. This is contained within a composite case mounted beneath the EJ200 jet engine.