Thrust SSC – Supersonic Car. World Land Speed Record

Thrust SSC – Supersonic Car. World Land Speed Record

“The land speed record (LSR) or absolute land speed record is the highest speed achieved by a person using a vehicle on land” and was set by Andy Green, on 15 October 1997 at a speed of 763.035 MPH (1,227.985 Km/h), or Mach 1.02.

During the initial concept and design stages for SSC, Aerotech was approached by the Thrust team, headed by Richard Noble, to design and manufacture a Sting Balance on which to mount a 1:25 scale model to be tested at speeds in excess of Mach 1, on a UK military rocket sled track at Pendine Sands in South Wales.

Force and Moment readings from the Aerotech Balance together with pressure readings from an array of model mounted pressure sensors were transmitted to a data capture system, on-board the sled for later analysis by Ron Ayers, Thrust’s aerodynamicist, thus proving the original CFD analysis closely enough for the team to go ahead and build the full scale car.

On 15 October 1997, the car, at 16.50m long and 3.7m wide with a curb weight of 10.6 tonnes was wheeled out onto Black Rock Desert, Nevada, UAS. It had a reported thrust of 223 kN (approximately 50,000 pounds force) coming from two Rolls Royce Spey engines mounted either side of the cockpit.

Thrust SSC started its first run a little after 9am local time. By 9:13am, Andy Green had piloted the car through the measured mile at 763.6mph (1,229km/h), repeating the feat less than an hour later. With a two-way average of 763mph, Thrust SSC had driven on land at Mach 1.02, breaking the sound barrier on both runs.


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