Hypersonic 4,310mph rocket goes up for auction

An auction house which usually specialises in the sale of classic cars is to sell the world's fastest machine - a NASA rocket capable of 4,310mph.

The Kholod Hypersonic rocket system was the result of a £60 million project to develop a superfast machine featuring pioneering technology. NASA teamed up with the Russian Institute for New Propellants in the to build the non-military device.

Kholod Hypersonic rocket system Credit: RM Auctions

Fuelled by cryogenically cooled liquid hydrogen known as a scramjet, the Kholod was completed in the early 1990s.

Kholod Hypersonic rocket system Credit: RM Auctions

On November 27, 1991, it was taken to the Sary Shagan test range in Kazakhstan. It was here that it was launched off into the atmosphere, reaching an altitude of 20 miles and hitting a staggering MACH 6.47 - 4,310mph. This is twice the speed of the fastest ever aircraft, the amazing Blackbird SR-71.

Kholod Hypersonic rocket system Credit: RM Auctions

Between 1991 and 2001, the HFL Kholod held the world record for outright atmospheric speed, and it remains the fastest "serially produced" machine to have travelled within Earth's atmosphere.

Kholod Hypersonic rocket system Credit: RM Autions

In total, nine Kholod rockets were built between 1991 and 1998. Five of those machines were destroyed during tests, while the other four complete rockets returned to earth.

The auction takes place on September 8, in Battersea Park.