David Reininger Battle for Mach 1 On Land: Daily Project report for Media and Sponsors The race to Mach 1 took another step forward this morning with further runs by both the ThrustSSC and Spirit of America teams. Thrust was first away at...
Battle for Mach 1 On Land: Daily Project report for Media and Sponsors The race to Mach 1 took another step forward this morning with further runs by both the ThrustSSC and Spirit of America teams. Thrust was first away at 08:00 on a run planned to hit Mach 0.82 (624mphg). At 1.6 miles into the run at 410mphg ThrustSSC had an "uncommanded abort" when a computer problem that could not be resolved by cross checking with the other on-board system aborted the run. As designed, the engines were cut and the rear jacked up into maximum downforce configuration with SSC cruising to a halt in the middle of the measured mile. This seems to be a repeat of a similar computer problem experienced last week, but the key difference this time was that with the abort systems armed, the computers rather than driver Andy Green called a halt to proceedings.
Later in the morning Craig Breedlove and Spirit of America made another test run, this time with an on-board camera and tufts attached to one of the rear wheel outriggers thought to be the cause of the lack of downforce. After studying the film, the SoA team abandoned further runs for the day, although further tests are scheduled for 08:00 on Sunday September 21.
At 17:00 the ThrustSSC team were out again having taken the decision to reload computer code used successfully in Jordan at 540mph and designed to be safe at speeds well in excess of 600mph. This was part of a process to determine whether the computer problem was hardware or software related. Using only maximum military power (no afterburners) and therefore 40% of the potential power, speeds were 553 for the kilo and 553 for the mile. As Dave Petrali the USAC timekeeper stated - "the car was on cruise control".
The turnaround team did an excellent job to get SSC ready to roll again in 50 minutes. After a successful engine start a hydraulic gauge suddenly slumped to zero so the run had to be called off for the problem to be investigated. After a long slow tow back to the pits, Nick Dove and his team will take the panels off the car and repressurise the system to try to duplicate the fault and identify a fix. It is therefore unlikely that the car will run again tomorrow morning, but assuming all is well, it will run in the late afternoon. This will also give Jerry Bliss more time to track down the problem with the computer code needed for runs at higher Mach numbers.
The media have once more turned up in large numbers with SKY News broadcasting 1.5 hours of live coverage to over 40 million viewers throughout Europe. SKY reports a huge number of calls to them asking for more coverage of the next runs. Alongside this, the Internet traffic continues to grow with Webmaster Jeremy Davey reporting that the site has now taken 2.2 millions hits this week.
Keeping up to Speed with Thrust SSC Internet at http://ThrustSSC.Digital.co.uk : Info line on (44) 0839- 888-850