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Andy Green, driver of the Bloodhound SSC car, visits SSTL

Swapping the engineering challenges of supersonic cars and spacecraft..
Last month we were lucky enough to be visited by Andy Green, driver of Bloodhound SSC, a supersonic car designed to set a new World Land Speed Record of 1000mph. 

Patrick Wood, Andy Green, Richard Knight and Chris Hamar examine a one metre image of Guildford, taken by one of the DMC3/TripleSat Constellation satellites

Andy’s connection with SSTL goes back a few years, as for the last few years our subsidiary company, DMCii (now operating within the Airbus GEO group), have been supplying the Bloodhound team with satellite imagery of their test track site at Hakskeen Pan in Africa, to help them monitor conditions there. 

The Hakskeen Pan recently flooded, which is not necessarily a bad thing as the large amounts of water standing on the Pan will help to repair any damage caused by previous test runs and track preparation.  During the visit, hosted by SSTL’s MD, Patrick Wood, Andy viewed the cleanrooms where we build spacecraft like UK-DMC2, the small satellite which is taking regular images of the Pan for the Bloodhound Team, and he was given an expert guide to operating spacecraft in orbit by James Northam, manager of our Spacecraft Operations Centre. 

Andy in conversation with James Northam, Manager of Ground Segment and Mission Services

Andy then walked the short distance over the road to visit DMCii where he met Connie Clark the campaign manager for the Bloodhound project work.  Connie gave Andy a first-hand demonstration of how she uses specially designed software to find the next imaging opportunity over the Hakskeen Pan site from any one of the satellites in the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, and uses weather predictions to identify the most likely cloud-free day to image the site.  She then gave Andy an overview of how that image is processed for the Bloodhound team. 

Andy asks DMCii's Connie Clark about the latest image of the Hakskeen Pan

It was a complete overview of the design, test, manufacture, operation and image data chain – a capability we’re very proud to be able to offer our customers.  During the walk around our sites, the conversation was very wide-ranging – turns out, there are many similarities involved in designing and testing a supersonic car and designing and testing a new satellite.  Both require an expertise in materials, stresses, Maths, the laws of physics, the environment and a pragmatic but deeply-informed approach to getting the job done. 

To round off the visit, Andy had a quick lunch with a few of our Outreach volunteers who give up some of their free time to encourage a younger generation into careers in aerospace engineering.  

Andy wrote up his visit here in his latest Bloodhound diary post.  





31 March 20160 Comments1 Comment

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