European Space Agency endorses the orbitready Sabre engine

first_imgBack in April we first heard about Reaction Engines’ revolutionary new hybrid engine design called Sabre. It promised to fly you anywhere in the world in just 4 hours, with the key to the design being its ability to function both in and outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. If it works as intended you could take off and land like a normal jet, but spend most of your flight orbiting the Earth.This week the Sabre engine has taken a huge step forward by being endorsed by the European Space Agency (ESA). In order to achieve that, Reaction Engines had to pass a series of tests using its technology, and it passed them all. Mark Ford, the ESA’s  head of propulsion, even went so far as to say the Sabre tech removed a major obstacle for developing a “re-usable vehicle.”Sabre holds so much potential for air travel because of its heat exchanger. Jet engines are currently limited in speed because they can’t cool the air entering the jet engine quickly enough to go faster than Mach 2.5. Beyond that the air is so hot the engine could melt. Sabre’s heat exchanger can cool 1,000 degrees Celsius air to -150 degrees in 0.01 seconds, and in so doing could allow an aircraft to achieve Mach 5. To leave Earth’s atmosphere, the engine switches over to a rocket mode.The endorsement by the ESA should help Reaction secure the $400 million it needs to build a working prototype of the engine. After that, the focus will turn to building the final engine for use in the Skylon spaceplane, which if successful, is the aircraft that will eventually fly you anywhere in a handful of hours.via Reuterslast_img read more

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