Record-breaking rocket up for auction in Billingshurst could be yours for £50,000

The HFL Kholod, going on sale in Billingshurst
The HFL Kholod, going on sale in Billingshurst

A 5,000mph rocket that previously held the air speed record for an unmanned vehicle is up for auction and could fetch a cool £50,000.

The HFL ‘Kholod’, which weighs 5.5 tonnes and is 39 feet long, broke the record in 1991.

The HFL Kholod, going on sale in Billingshurst

The HFL Kholod, going on sale in Billingshurst

On Tuesday June 23, it will be sold at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, carrying an estimate of £35,000 to £50,000.

The item is one of six experimental scramjets developed jointly by NASA and CIAM (Central Institute for Aviation Motors). Five have survived.

Development of the HFL began in the 1970s but its maiden flight did not take place until 1991, when it became the fastest machine ever to run within the world’s atmosphere.

It achieved a speed of Mach 6.47 - almost 5,000mph, around 20 times the top speed of a Formula One car.

The HFL held that record for almost a decade until it was broken by the X-43A, also developed by NASA.

In order for a scramjet to start working the vehicle has to be travelling at Mach 5 or more.

To achieve this, the HFL was based on a Soviet SA5 missile with the addition of four solid fuel booster rockets, the scramjet being attached to the nose.

The solid fuel boosters fired first for four seconds before separating from the main body, the liquid fuel SA5 then continued for another 40 seconds by which time a sufficient speed for the scramjet to work had been achieved.

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