The fastest rocket ever built is up for auction

An historic HFL Kholod Mach 6.47 scramjet jointly developed by NASA and CIAM -- the fastest rocket ever built -- is going under the hammer in September.

kholod.jpg
RM Auctions

Well, sure, you could make a rocket out of diet cola and Mentos. Or you could mosey on over to London and snare yourself a piece of supersonic aviation history.

The Kholod is one of the fastest machines ever built. Developed in Russia by the Central Institute of Aviation Motors, it was the first ever scramjet -- a type of ramjet airbreathing jet engine propelled by cryogenically cooled liquid hydrogen combusted in supersonic airflow -- to complete a successful test flight, back in 1991.

NASA joined the Kholod program in 1994, and on February 12, 1998, the fifth Kholod rocket was launched -- reaching an altitude of 27.1 kilometres (6.8 miles) and a top speed of Mach 6.47 -- 7926kph, or 4925mph -- a speed only exceeded by spacecraft.

The joint venture cost a grand total of $95 million, so you might want to get your chequebooks ready; the Kholod going under auction by RM Auctions in London on September 8 is one of just three of the nine original rockets still intact, and has been listed without reserve.

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About the author

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

 

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