Rosco McGlashan OAM is a “man on a mission” and not content with holding the Australian Land Speed Record, he is going after the ultimate goal of the World Land Speed Record. Rosco, with his dedication and proven ability, has enlisted a skilled team to build a car capable of breaking the sound barrier and moving on to 1,000 mph. View a video introducing Rosco and the Aussie Invader Land Speed Record challenge.
The car is Aussie Invader 5R and will run a single rocket motor, producing around 62,000 lbs of thrust (about 200,000 horsepower). The car weighs 9.2 tonnes fully fuelled and is capable of accelerating from 0 – 1,000 mph (1,600+ km/h) in just over 20 seconds. In that time the car will burn 2.8 tonnes of propellant!
The work in building Aussie Invader 5R is now in full swing, with preliminary planning and design work having taken a decade before the build could start. The science and technology behind such a project is staggering and only now is some of that coming into the reach of people like us, a dedicated and committed small team, driven with a passion to achieve the seemingly impossible.
Rosco McGlashan OAM leads the team, and is also the driver of Aussie Invader 5R. Rosco has 45 years in the Land Speed Record environment, chasing records and becoming the Fastest Aussie on the planet, having driven Aussie Invader III to a one way pass of 638 mph (1,028 km/h) in 1996.
The computer aided drawing below, shows Australia’s best kept secret. It illustrates the simplicity of the concept. What makes Aussie Invader 5R a serious contender for the World Land Speed Record, is its method of propulsion. There are virtually no internal moving parts.
The car is using a bi-propellant (HTP/kerosene) rocket motor producing around 62,000 pounds of thrust. The propellant (fuel and oxidiser) is blown down into the combustion chamber with pressurised nitrogen and not with mechanical pumps as most conventional rockets. The total thrust of 62,000 pounds equates to around 200,000 hp on estimated speeds and acceleration.
Trajectory simulations carried out by engine development scientists at Rocket Lab in New Zealand, suggest that our cars dry weight should be a minimum of 14,000 lbs (6.4 tonnes).
This weight will maximise the thrust potential required to accelerate Aussie Invader 5R to 95% velocity in those 20 seconds. After that time the car should be entering the timed mile and upon breaking the first timing beam the engine will be throttled back to about 75% power, drag should equal thrust, meaning Aussie Invader 5R will no longer accelerate and hopefully maintain a constant speed through the measured mile.
Our wheel rating at maximum velocity is a major concern; we do not want to exceed their safety margins and must limit the wheel speed to 10,000 rpm +/- 5%. At these speeds there is a massive force exerted on the wheel rim (50,000 G) and the wheels have been designed to withstand these forces.
The car should exit the mile in well under four seconds and then the fun begins. The driver will have to shut the down the motor in stages, otherwise the car and driver will experience a negative G of such high proportions, that the driver would black out and it would send the wheels into a frenzy searching for traction. For safety, the motor will be reduced to half throttle to maintain driver control and traction and then reduced further as the car slows, allowing air brakes, parachutes and more conventional braking systems to assist the stopping process.
Throttling down our motor in stages adds extra distance to bring this “missile” to a standstill. It then has to be turned around, towed back to the staging point for the mandatory return run. We then need to re-fuel, re-oxidise, recharge our nitrogen tanks, pack chutes and do a total check over before doing it all again within one hour. The combined average speed in both directions hopefully establishes a new World Land Speed Record… simple really!