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Bloodhound LSR hit 628mph (1,010kph) in high-speed testing over the weekend, as fast as its current rocket will propel it.
The car left the start line in “max dry” mode – with no visible flames. At 50mph (80kph), driver Andy Green “put his foot down”, pushing the jet engine into reheat or afterburner mode.
Maximum speed was reached in 50 seconds, five miles from the start, and Green lifted off the throttle at 615mph (989kph), stabilised the car then deployed the parachute. It came to a stop seven miles (11km) from the starting line.
Subsequent GPS checks put the top speed at 1,010kph. Brakes were applied at 250mph (400kph). The speed achieved would allow you to travel from London to Edinburgh in 39 minutes.
The Eurofighter EJ200 jet engine produces 9kN of thrust, about 54,000 brake horse power.
Bloodhound LSR’s owner, Ian Warhurst, said: “Our speed objective for these tests was to reach 1,000kph. Hitting 1,010kph is a real milestone and shows just what the team and the car can achieve. With the high-speed testing phase concluded, we will now move our focus to identifying new sponsors and the investment needed to bringing Bloodhound back out to Hakskeen Pan in the next 12 to 18 months’ time.”
Warhurst, who formerly ran Barnsley-based turbocharger biz Melett Ltd before he sold to US firm Wabtec in late 2017, saved the project from bankruptcy last year.
“Not only am I immensely proud of the team, I’m also delighted that we’ve been able to demonstrate that the car is eminently capable of setting a new world land speed record.”
Green said the cool and almost windless conditions had been perfect, as had the surface of the track created at Hakskeenpan, South Africa. The Northern Cape provincial government and over 300 members of the local Mier community shifted 16,500 tonnes of rock from 22 million square metres of lake bed to make the tests possible.
This phase of testing is now over and data collected by 192 sensors will be analysed by a team back at the University of Swansea to see how well it corresponds with predictions made by the computational fluid dynamics modelling. Analysis of the final run found airflow underneath the car went supersonic and removed the paint from an area three metres behind the front wheels.
The primary aim of this research is to accurately measure how much drag the car experiences in order to work out how big a rocket is required to break the land speed record. The current record is 763mph (1,228kph) but Bloodhound aims to break the 1,000mph (1,609kph) barrier.
Apart from slight drifting to the right caused by crosswinds, the car handled well.
The car has been run up in incremental stages over the last month. The next stage, getting the car to 1,000mph, will require a new monopropellant rocket, which is being developed by Norwegian specialist Nammo.
More on the team’s blog here. ®
Nokia – one of the so-called “Big Three” 5G kitmakers – has downgraded profit forecasts for the year and cancelled dividends, saying investments in next-generation services have not yet yielded expected returns.
The company trimmed its 2019 profit outlook to earnings per share of €0.18-0.24 from a previous forecast of €0.25-0.29. It will not distribute cash to shareholders in the current fiscal, and it isn’t expecting a full recovery for its earnings until 2021.
In third-quarter results (PDF) ended September 2019, revenue grew to €5.686bn from €5.458bn a year earlier. Profits were back in the black to the tune of €264m, versus a loss of €54m the previous year.
Rajeev Suri, Nokia president and CEO, said the business will up investment in 5G networks as it fights rivals for global contracts.
“Some of the risks that we flagged previously related to the initial phase of 5G are now materialising. In particular, our Q3 gross margin was impacted by product mix; a high cost level associated with our first generation 5G products; profitability challenges in China; pricing pressure in early 5G deals; and uncertainty related to the announced operator merger in North America.
“We expect that we will be able to progressively mitigate these issues over the course of next year. To do so, we will increase investment in 5G in order to accelerate product roadmaps and product cost reductions, and in the digitalisation of internal processes to improve overall productivity.
“We will also continue to invest in our enterprise and software businesses, which are developing rapidly and performing well. Given these investments and the risks we see materialising, we are adjusting our targets for full-year 2019 and 2020; and we expect our recovery to drive improvement in our 2021 financial performance relative to 2020.”
During the quarter, the firm launched 15 live 5G networks with customers, including Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile in the US; Vodafone Italy and Zain in Saudi Arabia; as well as SKT, KT and LGU+ in Korea.
Along with Ericsson and Huawei, Nokia is one of a trio of equipment makers dominating the 5G network infrastructure market. That lack of diversity is something that has worried British MPs – so much so that the Intelligence and Security Committee has warned excluding Huawei from the UK’s 5G network infrastructure would harm resilience and “lower security standards”.
So far, the British government has repeatedly deferred its decision on whether or not to ban Huawei equipment from 5G networks in the UK.
However, if it does, that will be a huge boost to Ericsson and Nokia. Mobile network O2 does not use Huawei in its 5G network, having determined that “the best choices for us at this time are our current partners, which are Ericsson and Nokia”. ®
Fledgling geniuses deserve gifts that match their geeky interests. With everything from puzzles and robots to model trains and DIY experiments, the educational toy market is bound to have something for the science-minded boys in your life. Here are 20 of our favorite toys and kits.
Three Taliban commanders have been released by the Afghan government as part of a prisoner swap involving two Western hostages, sources have told Al Jazeera.
The sources said on Tuesday that the men, including senior Taliban leader Anas Haqqani, had landed in Qatar, which hosts the group’s political office at the request of the United States.
In exchange, two university professors identified as US citizen Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks are set to be released later on Tuesday. The pair have been held by the Taliban for three years.
Representatives of the Afghan government and the US embassy in Kabul were yet to comment on the reported swap.
The developments come after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a week ago that Haqqani – whose older brother is the deputy Taliban leader and head of the Haqqani Network – a Taliban affiliate, and the two other commanders would be freed.
At the time, Ghani said the decision was made after consultations with the US and was aimed at “facilitating face-to-face negotiations directly with the Taliban”, who have, until now, refused to engage with what they call an illegitimate, US-backed “puppet” government.
But the swap was abruptly postponed, with the Taliban shifting its hostages to a new location after the commanders failed to land in Qatar.
The Taliban seized power in 1996 and ruled Afghanistan until 2001 when it was dislodged from power in 2001 by a US-led invasion.
Renewed efforts to end the country’s 18-year-conflict have been stepped up recently, with US special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad visiting Pakistan last month to meet the Taliban’s top negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Washington said Khalilzad was in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, to follow up on talks he held in September in New York with Pakistani officials, including Prime Minister Imran Khan. The administration insisted Khalilzad was not in Pakistan to restart US-Taliban peace talks.
The meeting was the first that Khalilzad had held with the Taliban since US President Donald Trump declared in September that the peace talks, which were held in Qatar over the past year, were “dead”.
Al Jazeera and news agencies