Skylon space plane obtains breakthrough new engines, after British scientists invented a new revolutionary cooling system. With this technology, passengers could fly from London to Australia in as little as four hours.
Images credit: Reaction Engines
Skylon space plane a reusable launch vehicle, powered by air-breathing rocket engine, to boost the plane to Mach 5.5 and a height of nearly 30 km (18 miles).
British engineers at Reaction engines have made the “biggest breakthrough in flight technology since the invention of the jet engine.”
The new invention can cool air entering an engine, from 1,000C to -150C in a 100th of a second, without creating icy blockages, allowing the jet engine to run safely at much higher power.
Developed by Reaction Engines over the last 20 years, SABRE (Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) is a new engine class that can operate in both air-breathing and rocket modes.
Skylon is a design for a space plane by the British company Reaction Engines Limited (REL). It uses a combined-cycle, air-breathing rocket engine to reach orbit in a single stage. A fleet of vehicles is envisaged; the design is aiming for re-usability for more than 200 times. The cost of the programme has been estimated by the developer to be about $12 billion.
The vehicle design is for a hydrogen-powered aircraft that would take off from a conventional runway, and accelerate to Mach 5.4 at 26 kilometres (16 mi) altitude using atmospheric air before switching the engines to use the internal liquid oxygen (LOX) supply to take it to orbit.
The air intake on the front of the nacelle needs to point directly into the incoming airflow whereas SKYLON’s wings and body need to fly with an angle of incidence to create lift, so the intake points down by 7 degrees to account for this. The rocket thrust chambers in the back of nacelle need to point through the centre of mass of the vehicle so are angled down; again by 7 degrees but it is a coincidence the angle is the same.