The famous Perth Aussie Invader 5R is set to make a run for reaching the lightning 1,000 mph mark. In the process, the team will need to break the existing land-speed record with its Invader 5R. The previous record for the fastest speed on land was created in the late ’90s at 763 mph, respectively.
Records are meant to be broken, and in the age of rapid technological advancements, it is surprising to see a record-holding its mark for nearly 2 decades and more now. However, competing with a mark that already stands at the sound speed isn’t an easy feat either, keeping in regard the kind of safety risks it involves. Hence, please don’t confuse it with a formula1 situation, where improving the power down to the wheels can help. Supersonic cars are a whole lot different in that regard. The physics gets different as you get close to the point where you beat the speed of sound.
The difficult feat of messing and competing with the speed of sound is not in everyone’s jurisdiction. Only some like Rosco McGlashan can step in to break such barriers given the kind of means and recourses he has to achieve it. The guy operates from Perth, Western Australia, and has been pretty stubborn to do so as he has been on this project for a few decades.
He set his first land speed record in Australia in 1994, at 500 mph. The next year, he reached the mark of 600 mph (960km/h) at South Australia’s lakeside. His achieved mark just left him 40 km/h short of reaching the 1000 km/h mark. He came back with another untiring attempt in 1997, which left him losing the sound barrier race to Andy Greens in the ThrustSSC.
Having dealt with his earlier tax issues, he is now back with a crazy and impressive new powertrain he says has bright chances at crossing the speed of sound barriers at an ultimate 1,000 mph.
The new Invader 5R has an ‘ablative B3 bi-propellant rocket engine’ creating 62,000 lbs of thrust. In terms of horsepower, it makes it a revving 200,000 hp of power output. Fighter jet engines were used earlier for crossing such barriers, but it is different this time around. McGlashan worked closely with famed rocket engineers to develop an orbital propellant charging module to contain the fuel and stop it from sloshing around to throw the car off course.
The new specifications of the hyper-fast car make it possible to cross the sound speed barrier in mere 22 seconds. However, these will prove hell of a short-period given that the driver is turning 71 this year.
The high G-forces would rip an ordinary wheel apart, and the wheels are not involved in delivering power to the ground. Hence, it is equipped with four sound aluminum wheels in the absence of rubber tires. Each wheel weighs 140 kg and rated for 10,200 rpm rotational speeds, producing forces around 50G. Its Canard winglets in front are for adjusting the front wheels’ weight as the vehicle center of gravity shifts.
Although slowing it down would be a difficult feat and would require a team effort. Starting, the pure wind resistance will come to play. The second step includes a pair of strong metal-air brakes extending out from the hyper-fast vehicle’s rear end at approximately 800 mph mark. After that, a high-speed parachute will be deployed at nearly 600 mph speed, followed by a low-speed parachute as things cool down to a more setting 450 mph. The final step includes a hydraulic disc brake system deployed at all four corners to stop the vehicle safely.
The invader 5R is basically a 40-feet steel pipe that is 10 mm in its thickness weighs 2.5 tonnes alone. Most of it is stuffed with 800 liters of turpentine, 2 tonnes of white fuming nitric acid, two pairs of 4,000 psi gaseous nitrogen blowdown tanks, and a massive rocket.
The Aussie team revealed their ultimate goal of reaching the 1,000 mph mark in 2022 and gearing up to achieve it. It leaves us with nothing else other than appreciation and admiration of how the guy spent all his life to achieve one considerably difficult target.
Extra-ordinary minds, exceptional engineering, and ultimate courage backed with massive amounts of money are what make this dream a possibility. The final result is to strap a human into a rocket on wheels, firmly motivated to break the almost impossible barriers. The outcome would be to tell one helluva achievement and a set-record that all will remember for the longest time.
Given the kind of prevailing challenges our world faces now, it’s difficult to think of what could have been achieved if all these resources would have been spent elsewhere. However, it is up to McGlashan’s disposal as to what fuels his passion, and clearly, it is to take aim at the speed of sound.