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Bloodhound rocket car sniffs out 1,000-mph land speed record

  • Story Highlights
  • Plan is for Bloodhound supersonic car to reach more than 1,000 mph in 2011
  • UK bid also hopes to provoke public interest in science, develop new technologies
  • Driver will be UK fighter pilot Andy Green, who holds current land speed record
  • Team, based in western England, now hunting for suitable site for record attempt
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Speed enthusiasts hope to build a rocket car that can go faster than a bullet from a handgun -- and break the world land speed record.

The team behind the Bloodhound SSC hope it will hit more than 1,000 mph in 2011.

If it succeeds the Bloodhound SSC (super sonic car), unveiled at London's Science Museum Thursday, will travel at more than 1,000 mph -- or Mach 1.4 -- beating the existing low altitude record for aircraft of 994 mph.

The vehicle's driver will be wing commander Andy Green, a Royal Air Force fighter pilot, who set the current speed record of 763 mph with Thrust SSC in October 1997.

The three-year mission will be led by Richard Noble, who also project-led the Thrust SSC and himself held the world speed record between 1994 and 1997.

Noble said: "The next three years are going to be tough, testing and damned exciting." Video Watch Bloodhound SSC's animated preview of the car »

The wheels on the jet- and rocket-powered car, which will be 12.8 meters long and weigh 6.4 tons, will spin at more than 10,000 times per minute.

Green added: "I've met graduate engineers who are adamant that our previous record was what inspired their career choice as youngsters: that sort of thing makes all the effort worthwhile. Bloodhound SSC will be so much faster and, we hope, will fire up every school kid about the science and technology.

The project, which is privately financed through sponsorship, hopes to promote public interest in science and technology as well as develop new technology in engineering.

Paul Drayson, science minister for the UK government, which is funding an accompanying education program, said: "This project is not just about the bragging rights to the world land speed record. This will result in tangible scientific developments that will benefit all, for example in areas such as fuel efficiency and safety and which could be used in the cars we drive in the future.

The Bloodhound team are now searching the world's deserts, hunting for a race track capable of taking the supersonic car, the project said on its Web site.

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The location needs to be perfectly flat and without vegetation for 10 miles, as well as reliably dry for at least three months each year and capable of supporting living quarters, technical backup and security.

So far the team has narrowed the hunt down to 14 sites -- eight in the United States, four in Australia, one in Turkey and one in South Africa.

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