Bloodhound SSC, the world’s fastest rocket car?

Bloodhound SSC is the impressive-looking rocket car designed to break the land speed record at 1,000 mph. It won’t happen until sometime next year in South Africa, but the first test has already taken place in England.

Bloodhound SSC is a sight to behold at over 44 feet (13 metres) in length. Its front looks more like the tip of a missile and it appears to have a giant rocket strapped to its back. In an airport in Cornwall, England, a crowd reportedly gathered to watch the first test of this mighty vehicle. Using one of the airport’s runways, Bloodhound made just two trips up and down the 2.7 km (1.7 miles) path. The airport actually had to close down for an hour and a half, for just over thirty seconds of driving. The record attempt will take place on a 12-mile track in South Africa, where Bloodhound should be able to achieve 1,000 mph. On this much shorter stretch, the rocket car managed to reach 200 mph, which experts say is a positive sign.


Bloodhound reportedly reached 200 mph in about 8 seconds, though the work behind this project has been slow and steady. The project reportedly started moving in 2007 with an eye to surpassing not just the 800 mph record at the time set by ThrustSSC. They also wanted to surpass any potential new records that could be set while they were building. This was ambitious, to say the least, aiming to implement technology that still didn’t exist to achieve something remarkable.

Bloodhound SSC's predecessor, Thrust SSC, the current land speed record holder.
Bloodhound SSC’s predecessor, Thrust SSC, the current land speed record holder.

Overall the project has cost around $85 million and its record-attempt had to be delayed from 2017 until next year. But Richard, Noble, the Bloodhound Chief Executive seems to feel it’s been worth it.

“What was so important about today was the people. We’ve got a fantastic turnout of people here and more coming over the weekend. That’s all very important as the prime objective of the project is to create a new generation of scientists and engineers and this is clearly what this thing is doing.”

1,000 mph is still a long way away, but it looks like Bloodhound SSC is going to get there soon. After that, who knows what’s next?

Ronan Daly

Ronan Daly is a staff writer for My Good Planet who specialises in Technology and Science. With a Masters Degree in English, and over a decade's experience as a teacher and writer, Ronan has brought a breezy, learned style to My Good Planet, making occasionally complex material accessible and understandable to all.