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8 September 2014

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Lot 101

CIAM-NASA Hypersonic Flying Laboratory “Kholod”

Sold for £38,025


  • Capable of Mach 6.47 (7,926 km/h or 4,925 mph)
  • Record holder for atmospheric speed from 1991 to 2001
  • Fastest serially produced machine within Earth’s atmosphere
  • Presented as a static technical aerospace artefact


For centuries, the fascination of inventive man has been held primarily by two great desires, to fly and to travel as quickly as possible. It is, as the movies dubbed it, “the need for speed”, and it has never relented through ages of new inventions, from the development of the jet to the Concorde to the possibility of passenger travel into space.

The vehicle offered here was constructed by a joint effort comprised by the Central Institute of Aviation Motors (CIAM) and the American National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA). This vehicle is known as the Hypersonic Flying Laboratory (HFL), or “Kholod”, and it is comprised of an entire experimental system for testing a dual-mode scramjet, which is boosted by a modified Russian SA-5 missile.

The Kholod’s experimental system includes the scramjet’s engine and propellant, engine control, engine cooling, instrumentation, and telemetry systems. The SA-5 booster was selected by CIAM because of its performance and trajectory, which were compatible with that of the asymmetric scramjet. It has four solid strap-on boosters, in addition to the main liquid-fuel rocket engine, and it would have been launched from a railroad car.

The size and weight of the Hypersonic Flying Laboratory allowed the SA-5 to attain its maximum operational speed of Mach 6. The missile was then highly modified to include several weight reduction measures, such as reducing the size of the control fins, making control system changes, increasing the liquid propellant load, and improving the performance of the solid-booster propellant. With these changes, this system achieved an incredible Mach 6.47.

In 1991, Kholod became the fastest machine ever to run within the world’s atmosphere, which was a record it would hold for the next decade. Its purpose may have been scientific, but its “wow factor” is no less impressive than its results. It is, quite simply, the fastest vehicle a human being is ever likely to own, as it has a top speed of 4,925 mph, which is roughly 20 times the top speed of a McLaren F1!

Currently, this example is being presented as a static aerospace artefact, and it is not set up for high-speed testing.

THE HFL SYSTEM

The conical N1 compartment is comprised of a transition section which is located from the engine to the cylindrical booster, and it is covered by a thermal protective skin to shield it from the heat of the engine’s exhaust. This compartment contains the engine control, fuel regulator, and instrumentation systems. Compartment N2 contains a double-walled, insulated liquid hydrogen propellant tank, and it is followed by the N3A compartment, which contains the pressurised helium used to pump the fuel to the engine, as well as high-pressure nitrogen for the pneumatic actuators. The final component, N3B, contains the telemetry system, system batteries, and the SA-5 missile control system. On-board HFL instrumentation includes 83 pressure transducers, 58 thermocouples, and 46 other system operation sensors.

Addendum

Please note that additional charges will apply for the removal and storage of this lot. For further details, please speak with an RM representative.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more