Thrust SSC - Supersonic Race Update

Issue 189 Lead Article 1 - 7th October 1997

Shockwave On The Black Rock

by Jeremy Davey, ThrustSSC Webmaster and Satellite Communications Manager

ThrustSSC producing a shockwave at Mach 0.95
ThrustSSC Producing A Shockwave At Mach 0.95 On The Black Rock Desert
Photo: Richard Meredith-Hardy. Copyright 1997, Richard Meredith-Hardy

Take a close look at the picture above. It was taken during Run 58 of ThrustSSC on Monday 6th October 1997, by ThrustSSC Team Member Richard Meredith-Hardy piloting one of the two Pegasus Quantum microlight aircraft on spotting patrol. The dark streaks either side of the jet-car's track are formed of dust lifted from the Black Rock Desert's surface by a shockwave developed towards the front of the car.

The lower edge of the shockwave where it meets the desert surface is clearly visible. The shockwave is in fact conical in shape, extending above the desert in a semicircle. To give you some idea of its size, consider that ThrustSSC is 12 feet wide. The photograph was taken as ThrustSSC proceeded through the measured mile at Mach 0.95 - prior to entering the mile Andy Green had throttled back from a peak speed of Mach 0.965.

Shockwaves formed by a car have never been photographed before - this photograph is both unique and fascinating. We felt we had to share it with you.

(Please note: the above image is the copyright property of Richard Meredith-Hardy)

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