Article Source: The Engineer
As the Bloodhound LSR team prepares to return from the Kalahari Desert after its successful opening round of high-speed testing, The Engineer asks what the most important benefits of the project are likely to be
What will be the most important benefit of the Bloodhound project?Enhancing the standing of British engineering
Inspiring a new generation of engineers
The technological spin-offs from the project itself
There will be no appreciable benefits
It’s been a long road for Bloodhound, and The Engineer has been following the project since the very beginning. Through its design phases, the slow process of building the car, the tests on components, initial low-speed trials, the near-collapse of the project and its rescue by Ian Warhurst, the project has never seemed closer success than today.
- Bloodhound LSR breaks 500mph barrier
- Q&A: Ian Warhurst on rescuing Bloodhound
- Bloodhound LSR achieves fastest speed to date
Running on only one of its propulsion systems, the arrow-shaped car has now achieved a speed barely 150mph below the existing land-speed record, and the addition of a hybrid rocket engine that will provide another 40kN of thrust on top of the 90kN provided by the Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine in afterburner mode seems certain to push Bloodhound to a new record; the goal of topping 1000mph also seems highly feasible – assuming, of course, that sponsorship and funding for the next stage of the project can be secured.
But it is reasonable to ask what the benefits of this project are likely to be. The founder of Bloodhound and its predecessors, Thrust 2 and Thrust SSC, Richard Noble, was fond of using the phrase “For Britain and the hell of it” (which became the title of a documentary about his efforts), but a project of this size seems to demand greater justification.
This week, we are asking readers believe is the most important of the possible benefits the project might have. Is the halo effect it would have on enhancing the reputation of British engineering at extreme conditions the most important? Or are the fruits of the project’s long-running education program, designed to promote engineering as a study option and career for young people (this was always an integral part of Bloodhound, as the Ministry of Defence demanded it in return for lending the project a state-of-the-art Eurofighter Typhoon engine) likely to be more of a lasting legacy? Might the technological effects of the systems used to design, build and monitor the car being proved under some of the most arduous conditions possible be an important benefit? Or is the entire project, while exciting and impressive, basically of no further significance?
As always, we encourage debate on the subject in our comment section but ask that all readers familiarise themselves with our yes before submitting. All comments are moderated, particularly for length and grammar and to ensure that debate does not become sidetracked, before publication. We will publish the results of this poll 26th November.