A FORMER Hartlepool man with the title of “the fastest man on earth” is working on a new rocket car project that engineers hope could reach 1,000mph.
Andy Green, who grew up in Hartlepool, is part of a team of experts behind the Bloodhound SSC (Supersonic Car).
He was present as the Bloodhound was put through its paces at Newquay Cornwall Airport yesterday in front of an audience of 400 people.
The tests were also streamed live over the internet.
The Bloodhound is Europe’s largest hybrid rocket car and is the largest of its kind to be designed in Europe.
Driver Andy, who attended High Tunstall School in the 1970s, is the current holder of the world land speed record, which earned him an OBE in the 1997 New Year’s Honours List.
Bloodhound’s engineers tested the complete rocket system for the first time in a large hangar yesterday.
Andy, 50, who works at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, said in his online diary ahead of the milestone: “This will be the next step in the development of the hybrid rocket, up to its eventual limit of around 1100 psi (76 Bar), at which point it should be delivering about 12 tonnes of thrust – the sort of power that Bloodhound SSC is going to need to get up to 1,000mph.
“It’s been a huge effort by Richard Noble, our project director, to get us to this point, but finally its all coming together.”
Andy and his family previously lived in Stanhope Avenue, in Hartlepool.
The test was described as a major milestone in the quest to break the land speed record and the biggest rocket test in the UK in 20 years.
Those behind the project hope it will eventually reach four figure speeds.
The current record of 763mph was set by Andy in the Nevada Desert using the supersonic Thrust car in 1997.
The RAF pilot gained a first class honours degree in maths from Oxford University before his flying career took off at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire.
The Bluehound is planned to attempt a record-breaking speed of 1,000mph by 2014.
Chief engineer Mark Chapman said any result from the first full test of the car would provide useful information.
The pencil-shaped car is 12ft (4m) long, 18in (45.7cm) in diameter and weighs 992lb (450kg).
When it is finished, it is expected to generate the combined output of 95 Formula 1 cars.
Tata Steel produced a specially-shaped steel section that was manufactured in Llanwern in Wales, and processed in Hartlepool and Corby, Northamptonshire.