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Army engineers issue Bloodhound rocket challenge

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An Army team has run a 'rocket challenge' for young future scientists and engineers at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Staff Sergeant Matt Chapman and a child launch a toy vehicle they built at the Goodwood Festival of Speed [Picture: Crown copyright]
Staff Sergeant Matt Chapman and a child launch a toy vehicle

As well as getting the chance to see a replica of the Bloodhound car up close, more than 150 children attending the festival from schools across the country were helped by the British Army team, from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), to design and build their own miniature rocket cars. The schoolchildren were then given the chance to launch their inventions down a specially prepared track.

The challenge was just one of the many activities the Bloodhound project team are running across the country to inspire the next generation of young scientists and engineers.

Spectators watch a rocket-propelled car on a track
Spectators watch a rocket-propelled car, built by schoolchildren, on a specially prepared track [Picture: Crown copyright]

REME soldiers are involved in the attempt by the Bloodhound project team to break the land speed record using a supersonic car powered by a jet engine and a rocket motor.

The 5-strong REME team are using their Army training and experience from operations to provide engineering and management skills to the Bloodhound team which will be vital to the success of the project both in the UK and during the record attempts.

Corporal Lisah Brooking, a REME vehicle mechanic working on Bloodhound, said:

I joined the Army at 16 years old not knowing what I wanted to do and was lucky to get the chance to train as an Army mechanic.

I know that there is a real shortage of female engineers in industry and it’s important that girls know that they can get involved and make a difference. These events help to inspire the next generation and seeing these kids engaged in science is just fantastic.

Bloodhound team members with replica vehicle
The REME team with Defence Minister Philip Dunne, driver Wing Commander Andy Green and project director Richard Noble (library image) [Picture: Segeant Adrian Harlen, Crown copyright]

Major Oli Morgan, team leader for the REME’s involvement in the Bloodhound project, said:

The Bloodhound project is a wonderful way to get children interested in engineering, technology and maths. It is also a great opportunity for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to be involved in this groundbreaking venture to break the current land speed record.

Bloodhound really is the vehicle to inspire the next generation into science and engineering.

The Bloodhound project is an international education initiative focused around a 1,000-mile-per-hour (mph) world land speed record attempt, using a car powered by a jet engine and a hybrid rocket motor, with a design speed of 1,050mph. It is being developed and built with the intention of breaking the land speed record by the largest ever margin.

Students from St John's College with their rocket-propelled vehicle
Students from St John's College with the rocket-propelled vehicle they built that reached 99mph [Picture: Crown copyright]

In a recent visit by the Bloodhound project tem to Number 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:

British engineering and innovation are a part of our history that we are rightly very proud of and our engineering excellence continues to change the world that we live in for the better. Bloodhound is a fantastic example of what our engineers can achieve.

Business Secretary Vince Cable announced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed that the government and automotive industry are to invest £1 billion in a new Advanced Propulsion Centre. The department is also launching a new £10 million competition for research and development of low carbon vehicle projects.

Published 12 July 2013