It'll be ten years this October since the team behind Bloodhound SSC announced their intention to build a 'car' capable of matching or exceeding 1000mph. By its own admission, there have 'been many false dawns' along the way, and the project's latest statement has to work rather hard to find the silver lining in yet another delay to the proposed schedule.
Brass tacks, the jet-powered machine won't be heading to South Africa this year to begin further sub-sonic testing, which was supposed to be the next stage in development following an initial run at Newquay airport in October. The visit to the Northern Cape desert has slipped to May 2019, meaning it'll be another year before we get to see if Bloodhound can make the critical transition from a 200mph trundle to a 500mph sprint.
The upside of the postponement is that (should everything go to plan) there will be no need to bring the car back to the UK after its second test - meaning an assault on the 763.065mph land speed record could potentially occur in October or November of the same year. With any luck, this will be off the back of a 'very significant development' in the team's ability to raise funds, following two years worth of discussions with a 'major third party'.
Details of this new arrangement remained pinned to Richard Noble's chest for now, although he has confirmed that the development of the mono-propellant rocket (critical for any record attempt) will resume in the summer at the Newquay Aero Hub. A stab at the 1000mph limit would likely have to wait till 2020, by which time Andy Green will be 58 - having been 35 when he hit Mach 1.016 in ThrustSSC.
Whatever form of sponsorship or investment is now in the works, Noble calls it a 'game changer' - although recent setbacks have been virtually out of the team's hands, with two important suppliers having gone into receivership before they were able to complete work on the project. That's just bad luck. Let's all hope a change of circumstances brings better fortune along with it.