Oxfordshire Jet/Rocket Engine Gets £26.5m Funding

Reaction Engines Limited (REL) of Culham, which is building the  hybrid jet/rocket engine for  Skylon – the spaceplane successor to Hotol – has received a £26.5 million investment from Boeing and Rolls Royce.

Reaction Engines Limited (REL) of Culham, which is building the  hybrid jet/rocket engine for  Skylon – the spaceplane successor to Hotol – has received a £26.5 million investment from Boeing and Rolls Royce.

BAe invested £20.6 million in 2015 and the government had previously  invested £60 million. REL has now raised over £100 million to build the engine which it calls Sabre. Ground-based testing of Sabre is scheduled to start in 2020.

Sabre works like a conventional jet engine up to  Mach 5.5 and then goes into rocket mode. 

Key to the engine is a compact pre-cooler heat-exchanger that can take an incoming airstream of over 1,000C and cool it to -150C in less than 1/100th of a second. 

That allows the engine to use oxygen direct from the atmosphere for combustion instead of having to carry it in a tank.

 

“The company recently secured a contract from DARPA to conduct high-temperature airflow testing of a Reaction Engines pre-cooler heat exchanger,” says REL, “these tests will demonstrate the Company’s world-leading heat exchanger technology, contributing to a rapid leap forward in pre-cooled propulsion, for both jet and combined cycle engines, as well as opening exciting possibilities for novel vehicle thermal management solutions.”


Comments

14 comments

  1. Yes I wonder that too robetc.

  2. Wise words Jamo, Skylon should be a cracking success then,

  3. The bigger the funding the bigger the waste, inefficiencies and misappropriation of funds !

  4. I agree robetc, the funding figures seem remarkably low. Elon could build a couple of dozen with the sort of budgets he’s used to.

  5. Absolutely, Gormenghast, I’m sure, or is my brain deluding me, that I once saw a similar graphic of a similar engine on the centre spread of The Eagle.

  6. £100,000,000 seems like exceptionally good value if it works as advertised.

  7. Sad,isn’t it, that none of us can believe anything – let alone anything innovative – is being made in the UK by a UK company now?

    Though to be fair, they have done a pretty good job of disguising themselves as a blast from the past – classic British marketing incompetence.

    “Reaction Engines Ltd” sounds like somewhere Frank Whittle might have worked in the 1940s – personally I like names that give a clue as to purpose, but surely nowadays they should be called something like “reaXiona”?

    “Skylon”? Jeez, wasn’t that a sculpture at the 1951 Festival of Britain?

    And, of course, we all remember reading about exactly the same spaceplane fantasies back in the 1960s/70s/80s (delete according to your own age!).

    • Skylon and the entire Festival of Britain was demolished when the Tories won the election back in the day.

      Apparently one small part of it still exists IIRC.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylon_(Festival_of_Britain)

      Those of us brought up on the adventures of Dan Dare are eternally disappointed.

      Ho hum.

      • Funding for a new Eagle would make my day. The cut-away illustrations were just stunning. Everything from ZETA to the UK’s first nuclear sub, and including the Chieftan tank, the EE Lightning and the Mulberry harbour along the way. A real inspiration.

        (btw. I wonder what your younger auduience makes of these geriatric ramblings David)

  8. Yeah it sounds a bit like a 1960s sort of figure doesn’t it, TB? Today you’d expect seven or eight noughts on the end

  9. That was unexpected!

    The title readied me for a “so said 57 years ago…” article.

  10. Jt’s too late for Virgin

  11. Virgin Galactic could use those … SpaceShipFive?

  12. To Infinity & Beyond!

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