Bloodhound SSC: light at the end of the tunnel

This month Bloodhound’s Conor La Grue enthuses over the light at the end of the tunnel as the supersonic car comes together.

With Bloodhound’s rear uprights now in hand, the last large parts of the rear suspension which link to these stunning uprights are about to ship to the Bloodhound Technical Centre.

Conor La Grue, head of commercial, procurement and supplier sponsorship, Bloodhound SSC project
Conor La Grue, head of commercial, procurement and supplier sponsorship, Bloodhound SSC project

These long rear wishbone elements will allow us to take a key step by assembling a fully mocked-up rear suspension that allows the car to be put onto its wheels for the first time.

The primary structure build is getting to an interesting stage. We’re now planning the remaining jobs that have to be done while the car is still on its two large surface tables, and we need to complete these so we can start to look at final assembly.

Bolting together the car

Odd though it may seem, it’s the nature of the beast that as we build Bloodhound, we have to join bits together and then take them apart on a regular basis to get the design and assembly right.

So it will be great to see key parts go together and actually stay together for once!

These primary interfaces will be joined on the surface tables where we can both measure manually and use our Hexagon metrology Leica tracker to be sure of the final position of components when the car is bolted together.

With the key parts bolted together for the last time, the entire car will be lifted off the surface tables using two gantries and put on a custom set of axle stands that are positioned at regular intervals down its length.

The long rear wishbone elements are en route to the Bloodhound Technical Centre.
The long rear wishbone
elements are en route
to the Bloodhound
Technical Centre.

This will give us the opportunity to line the car up with the big roller doors here at our Bristol base as at that point we will be moving full steam ahead to get the car ready to run at Aerohub in Newquay in November this year.

The Bloodhound SSC trailer is a specially modified, one-of-a-kind Oldbury slider trailer provided by our fantastic haulage partner, Arthur Spriggs & Sons. This will be lined up with the large roller door to await the car.

The team from Spriggs has done an amazing job for many years moving priceless parts of the car all over the UK and Europe for us and the trailer it has have commissioned is a key part of the puzzle that will get Bloodhound SSC on the runway in November.

Planning the final summer build

During summer it is always hard to keep momentum going as many partners and suppliers have team members on holiday.

The Bloodhound SSC trailer is a specially modified, one-of-a-kind Oldbury slider trailer.
The Bloodhound SSC trailer is a specially modified, one-of-a-kind Oldbury slider trailer.

We also let our team members take a well-earned break with their families over the summer, but we are very good at planning ahead to maximise what we can get done through this period.

Firstly, more of the car will be painted and it will soon start to look more-or-less finished, but that’s not the case for the electronics and systems.

With key parts of the car coming together in their final configuration for the first time, it’s only the beginning of the job for our systems teams.

After all, without all the electrical; electronic; computing; sensor; hydraulic, and pneumatic systems the car is just a sculpture, waiting for the systems team to bring it to life and turn it into a supersonic car!

However you look at it, it’s going to be an interesting summer and we can start to see light at the end of a supersonic car assembly tunnel!