CNN logo

Infoseek/Big Yellow

Pathfinder/Warner Bros

Barnes and Noble

Tech banner

British duo sets first supersonic land-speed record

Thrust SSC car October 15, 1997
Web posted at: 8:05 p.m. EDT (0005 GMT)

GERLACH, Nevada (CNN) -- The British Thrust SSC set the first supersonic land-speed record Wednesday when it streaked across the Nevada desert faster than the speed of sound -- not once, but twice.

The jet-powered car rocketed by at 759.333 mph on its first run, and about 30 minutes later set the record when it was clocked at 766.109 mph on its second attempt.

The speed of sound, which varies according to weather and altitude, was calculated Wednesday morning at 748.111 mph. Temperatures were cooler than normal in the Black Rock Desert, 125 miles north of Reno, making the vast region more conducive to faster speeds.

Team leader Richard Noble said Thrust's engines are more efficient, and the speed of sound is lower, when temperatures are cooler and the humidity is higher.

A L S O :

List of world land speed record holders

Under international land-speed rules, the two runs had to be made within an hour of each other for the record to be official.

"It was a magic morning," Noble said.

The record came only one day after the 50th anniversary of the first supersonic flight -- made by test pilot Chuck Yeager on October 14, 1947.

Noble, 51, and driver Andy Green, a 35-year-old Royal Air Force fighter pilot, have worked for years to smash the sound barrier with a car on land, and in recent weeks intensified their quest.

On Monday, the team broke the sound barrier twice, but failed to enter the record books because the second run came a minute too late.

Green set a world land-speed record of 714.144 mph in the Thrust SSC on September 25, shattering the previous record of 633 mph set in 1983 by Noble.


Related stories:

Related sites:

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window

External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Infoseek search  


Watch these shows on CNN for more sci-tech stories:

CNN Computer Connection | Future Watch | Science & Technology Week

Message Boards Sound off on our
message boards

You said it...
To the top

© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.