Supersonic scramjet to go up for auction in London

22 Jul 2014

The Kholod rocket. Image via RM Auctions

Do you have a few spare million euro that you’re looking to spend? If so, you now have the chance to buy supersonic a Kholod scramjet in a London auction.

The HFL Kholod rocket that is up for sale next month is considered one of the fastest rockets ever built, with a top speed of Mach 6.47, according to CNet.

A scramjet rocket engine is one of the fastest propulsion systems available today. In certain tests, it reached speeds as high as Mach 10 and above, but the use of highly explosive hydrogen fuel for these speeds made it totally impractical for use.

The Central Institute of Aviation Motors (CIAM) in Russia originally developed the Kholod rocket, with testing beginning in 1991. After three years, US space agency NASA joined the project and the two teams worked together to produce the fifth-generation of Kholod rocket, which reached its record speed in 1998 at a cost of US$95m.

Now it seems that rather than have the rocket sit around gathering dust, RM Auctions is placing it up for sale with no reserve, indicating it is not quite sure what the rocket should cost, although it is one of only three remaining examples in existence.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic