Battle for Mach 1 on Land: With two stunning runs either side of midday on Monday 22 September, driver Andy Green took the ThrustSSC twin engined jet car into completely new land speed record territory and struck another blow for the team ...
Battle for Mach 1 on Land:
With two stunning runs either side of midday on Monday 22 September, driver Andy Green took the ThrustSSC twin engined jet car into completely new land speed record territory and struck another blow for the team in their supersonic head-to-head with American challenger Craig Breedlove. Making the most of a two day stand down by the Spirit of America team to fix their fuel system problems, the Thrust SSC team had the Black Rock Desert to themselves and rolled out the car to the south end of the track shortly after 11:00am.
The minor hydraulic problems from the previous had been finally solved, so similar run profiles were planned, still using the earlier versions of software for the on-board computers. Press and spectators who had flocked to the area saw ThrustSSC make a very fast, but very stable and smooth first run commencing at 11:24am. Speeds were 634.770 for the kilo and 618.556mile for the mile - Mach 0.85.
The car was called safe close to the turnaround team who then began the process of readying the car for what could have been a new land speed record. Part of the turnaround process involves checking all the abort system locks, two of which activated during this process. Although working as designed, this minor problem caused a delay to the run back while the locks were reconnected.
The second run took place at 13:25 in high temperatures with Andy scorching through the measured kilo at 689.347 and the measured mile at 687.941mph - Mach 0.88. Even though this did not count as a new land speed record because the two runs took place outside the one hour time specified by the rules, this is the fastest officially timed run ever over a measured mile by any land speed record vehicle.
Continuing the process of developing the car's complex systems in a series of steps on the way towards Mach 1, Andy Green initiated a "controlled abort" immediately after exiting the measured mile. With the engines shut down and the tail jacked up into maximum downforce configuration by the partially armed abort system, the car rolled to a halt with the wheels exactly straddling the finish line markers for the recovery team.
The last run was made at just above minimum afterburner so clearly the potential is there for a new record and eventually, the Sound Barrier. Assuming good weather and an all clear from the Engineering Team following their after run checks, then ThrustSSC will be rolled at again at 11:00am on Tuesday 23 September for two more runs at around Mach 0.9.
TV and Press interest is now running at an all time high justifying all of Richard Noble's predictions about how much coverage this project would generate. Jeremy Davey reports over half a million hits per day on the Website and 2.8million for the week so far. Yet again, the runs were broadcast throughout the world.
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