Skylon spaceplane begins critical tests.
The Skylon spaceplane is being developed in the UK, where the team hopes it will revolutionise world travel taking passengers via space to reach any destination in the world within four hours. The design is based around the Sabre engine, which operates like a jet engine at low altitudes, and switches to work as a rocket engine at higher engine. This design eliminates the need for costly multi-stage engines currently used.
Built by Reaction Engines (REL), the Sabre engine is currently undergoing testing to prove it can not only deal with 1,000 degree gasses in the intakes, but also cool those to minus 140C in only 1/100 of a second. If REL can prove this system, they will be able to attract investors to build the finished spaceplace. The company also points out that the engine being tested is a full-sized engine which would be ready to go onto a spaceplane, and not a scale model.
"We intend to go to the Farnborough International Air Show in July with a clear message," explained REL managing director Alan Bond.
"The message is that Britain has the next step beyond the jet engine; that we can reduce the world to four hours - the maximum time it would take to go anywhere. And that it also gives us aircraft that can go into space, replacing all the expendable rockets we use today."