Testing the comms for Bloodhound SSC at 650mph

Last autumn an L39 jet aircraft flew multiple passes down BLOODHOUND’s specially prepared South African desert track, synchronised with the new All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) Jaguar F-TYPE R Coupé and a Jaguar XF saloon, at closing speeds of up to 650mph (1,046km/h).

The cars carried the same equipment that will stream data, voice and imagery live from the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car (SSC) during test runs and record attempts in September this year and again in 2016.

Radio communications with the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car will be critical to the team’s success in setting a 1,000mph (1,609km/h) World Land Speed Record.

To that end, data from over 300 sensors, plus three streams of 720p video, will be transmitted live via single channel from the jet and rocket powered vehicle as it blasts down the desert racetrack during the test.

By way of comparison, a modern F1 car transmits 150 channels of data over a single radio channel during a Grand Prix weekend. Each run by BLOODHOUND SSC will generate information equivalent to 125 MP3 music tracks played concurrently.

Beaming data at over 1,000mph (1600km/h) will push available communications technology to the limit.

To meet the challenge, MTN and Poynting Antennas have created a bespoke 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network for the Project, based on known and trusted mobile telephone technology. The 800MHz signal is highly focused, rather than broadcast, to ensure the network has ‘link budget’ capable of streaming 4 Megabytes per second of data live from the car as it covers a mile in 3.6 seconds (a kilometre in 2.25 seconds).

During the test, the signal was captured by BLOODHOUND engineers on the track. Later this year and 2016, it will travel to the team’s Mission Control Centre and then be relayed to the nearest town, Upington, 80 miles (130km ) away, to be fed into the internet, ready to be viewed by schools, colleges and other audiences worldwide.