Skylon’s SABRE Engine Passes a Big Test

The UK aerospace company Reaction Engine Ltd was founded for the express purpose of creating engines that would lead to space-planes capable of horizontal take-off and landing and very high speeds. Sydney to LA in 3 hours?

With support from the ESA, these efforts have resulted in the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE). Once complete, this system will combine elements of jet and rocket propulsion to achieve hypersonic speeds (Mach 5 to Mach 25).

Recently, Reaction Engines passed a major milestone with the development of their SABRE engine. As the company announced on Oct. 22nd, their engineers conducted a successful test of a vital component – the engine’s heat exchange element (aka. precooler). What’s more, the test involved airflow temperatures equivalent to speeds of Mach 5, which is in the hypersonic range.

The precooler heat exchanger is a vital component of the SABRE engine and is responsible for cooling the hot airstream that enters the engine intake at hypersonic speed. This ground-based test took place at Reaction Engines specially-constructed Colorado Air and Space Port, as was part of the HTX test program. This consisted of subjected the precooler to airflow temperatures in excess of 1,000 °C (1,800 °F).

This effectively demonstrates that a key engine component can handle the kinds of speed that it will need to reach altitudes of 25,000 meters (82,000 ft). At this point, it will engage the rocket element of its engine to achieve a speed of Mach 2, which will propel it to suborbital altitudes. As Mark Thomas, Chief Executive, Reaction Engines, said in a recent company press release:

“This is a major moment in the development of a breakthrough aerospace technology which has seen Reaction Engines’ precooler tested at Mach 5 airflow temperature conditions, smashing through previous achievements at Mach 3.3 temperatures and paving the way for hypersonic flight. In addition to its use in our SABRE class of air breathing rocket engines, there are numerous exciting commercial applications for our precooler technology, which delivers world-leading heat transfer capabilities at low weight and compact size, and we are seeing significant interest from a range of potential customers and technology partners.”

This latest test is a significant milestone towards enabling a system that has the power to revolutionize high-speed air travel and provide greater access to space. These efforts have been supported by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) in Europe, and under contract in the US by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Source:Universe Today

Read previous post:
NATO Is Preparing For War In Space

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is expected to announce...

Planetary Protection – Time To Tighten The Rules!

It’s time to update the rules. That’s the conclusion of...

Top 7 Astronomy Apps For Stargazing

The night sky is a beautiful and fascinating thing. It’s...