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Wed Nov 28, 2012, 05:55 PM

Reaction Engines Breakthrough Could Mean Four Hour Flights To Anywhere In The World

Source: Reuters

A small British company with a dream of building a re-usable space plane has won an important endorsement from the European Space Agency (ESA) after completing key tests on its novel engine technology.

Reaction Engines Ltd believes its novel Sabre engine, which would operate like a jet engine in the atmosphere and a rocket in space, could displace rockets for space access and transform air travel by bringing any destination on earth to no more than four hours away.

That ambition was given a boost on Wednesday by ESA, which has acted as an independent auditor on the Sabre test programme.

"ESA are satisfied that the tests demonstrate the technology required for the Sabre engine development," the agency's head of propulsion engineering Mark Ford told a news conference.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/reaction-engines-space-plane_n_2204389.html

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Reply Reaction Engines Breakthrough Could Mean Four Hour Flights To Anywhere In The World (Original post)
bananas Nov 2012 OP
bananas Nov 2012 #1
dipsydoodle Nov 2012 #2
SCVDem Nov 2012 #3
Kelvin Mace Nov 2012 #4
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #8
jeff47 Nov 2012 #14
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #16
Kelvin Mace Nov 2012 #19
gordianot Nov 2012 #5
a geek named Bob Nov 2012 #15
tinrobot Nov 2012 #6
dipsydoodle Nov 2012 #7
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #9
AAO Nov 2012 #10
Poll_Blind Nov 2012 #11
Bosonic Nov 2012 #13
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #17
SariesNightly Nov 2012 #12
DiverDave Nov 2012 #18

Response to bananas (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 05:58 PM

1. The Biggest Breakthrough in Propulsion Since the Jet Engine

Here's the official press release:
http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/news_updates.html

The Biggest Breakthrough in Propulsion Since the Jet Engine

Press Release: Wednesday 28 November 2012:

Reaction Engines Ltd. can announce today the biggest breakthrough in aerospace propulsion technology since the invention of the jet engine. Critical tests have been successfully completed on the key technology for SABRE, an engine which will enable aircraft to reach the opposite side of the world in under 4 hours, or to fly directly into orbit and return in a single stage, taking off and landing on a runway.

SABRE, an air-breathing rocket engine, utilises both jet turbine and rocket technology. Its innovative pre-cooler technology is designed to cool the incoming airstream from over 1,000C to minus 150C in less than 1/100th of a second (six times faster than the blink of an eye) without blocking with frost. The recent tests have proven the cooling technology to be frost-free at the crucial low temperature of -150C.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has evaluated the SABRE engine's pre-cooler heat exchanger on behalf of the UK Space Agency, and has given official validation to the test results:

"The pre-cooler test objectives have all been successfully met and ESA are satisfied that the tests demonstrate the technology required for the SABRE engine development."

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said: "This is a remarkable achievement for a remarkable company. Building on years of unique engineering know-how, Reaction Engines has shown the world that Britain remains at the forefront of technological innovation and can get ahead in the global race. This technology could revolutionise the future of air and space travel."

Well over 100 test runs, undertaken at Reaction Engines Ltd's facility in Oxfordshire, integrated the ground-breaking flight-weight cooling technology and frost control system with a jet engine and a novel helium cooling loop, demonstrating the new technologies in the SABRE engine that drive its highly innovative and efficient thermodynamic cycle. This success adds to a series of other SABRE technology demonstrations undertaken by the company including contra-rotating turbines, combustion chambers, rocket nozzles, and air intakes and marks a major advance towards the creation of vehicles like SKYLON – a new type of reusable space vehicle that will be powered by SABRE engines, designed primarily to transport satellites and cargo into space. Wednesday 28 November 2012 Alan Bond, who founded Reaction Engines to re-build the UK's rocket propulsion industry and has led the research from the start, said:

"These successful tests represent a fundamental breakthrough in propulsion technology. Reaction Engines' lightweight heat exchangers are going to force a radical re-think of the design of the underlying thermodynamic cycles of aerospace engines. These new cycles will open up completely different operational characteristics such as high Mach cruise and low cost, re-usable space access, as the European Space Agency's validation of Reaction Engines' SABRE engine has confirmed. The REL team has been trying to solve this problem for over 30 years and we've finally done it. Innovation doesn't happen overnight. Independent experts have confirmed that the full engine can now be demonstrated. The SABRE engine has the potential to revolutionise our lives in the 21st century in the way the jet engine did in the 20th Century. This is the proudest moment of my life."

Dr Mark Ford, ESA's Head of Propulsion Engineering, said:

"One of the major obstacles to developing air-breathing engines for launch vehicles is the development of lightweight high-performance heat exchangers. With this now successfully demonstrated by Reaction Engines Ltd, there are currently no technical reasons why the SABRE engine programme cannot move forward into the next stage of development."

Download Press Release (PDF 545KB) http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/press_release/PRESS%20RELEASE%20-%20THE%20BIGGESTBREAKTHROUGH%20IN%20PROPULSION%20-%2028%20November%202012.pdf


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Response to bananas (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 05:59 PM

2. Back in the late seventies / early eighties

two of my friends were captains with New Zealand Airlines and they predicted this then even to the extent that short hauls would need to fly in the opppsite direction around the earth.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:01 PM

3. Sabre

Even the name is cool!

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:05 PM

4. Nice, but it is mostly a press release

and a LONG way off from being an actual engine. KEY QUOTE:

"ESA are satisfied that the tests demonstrate the technology required for the Sabre engine development"

Translation: We have a technology that will now allow us to research another technology, and perhaps build a prototype in a decade or so, which may then require another decade or two to refine to an actual commercial product.

Maybe.

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:47 PM

8. Party pooper.

But likely true. This is a 'maybe in our lifetimes' sort of thing, because think of the exotic materials and design just to have an aircraft to accompany this engine. That is very, very fast, and will only be able to go very very fast very very high, sonic boom and all. Etc.

But still, cool, and hey, maybe it'll come to market sooner than we think.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 09:51 PM

14. The necessary materials were developed during the X-15 and similar projects. (nt)

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:17 PM

16. That, and it's decendents are extremely high risk airframes.

Even the SR-71's suffered from metal fatigue, and at least one of them was destroyed by it.

Across all of the A-12's, YF-12's, SR-71(X)'s, and M-21's, we lost over 1/3 of the airframes, in a combined total of about 5,000 hours of flight. 22 out of 50 aircraft.

We can do better today, but look how much effort went into just the 787's, and that's not even a supersonic aircraft.

I highly doubt the titanium skin of those old birds will be sufficient for a commercial endeavor.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:49 AM

19. Yeah, I know I'm a buzzkill

but if I had a nickel for every new battery technology that was going to increase capacity ten-fold, while reducing charge time to 15 minutes AND costing half current technology AND using non-toxic materials, I could afford to pay my health insurance premiums.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:06 PM

5. Wanna bet this will be weaponized sad but inevitable.

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Response to gordianot (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 10:59 PM

15. May I remind you of Niven's Law:

 

Any object's usefulness as a weapon, is proportional to its usefulness as a tool.

If it flies, it can be used as a weapon. At the very least, you can drop things on people.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:20 PM

6. How clean is it?

What's the carbon emissions, etc?

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:30 PM

7. If you're US I'll ignore that remark

given yesterdays news on Obama passing a law re. EU carbon tax on airlines.

Aside from that it seems to use rocket fuel. Rocket fuel contains no carbon.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #7)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:51 PM

9. If by that you mean H/LOX, technically true

or potentially true, depending on the energy source used to obtain the hydrogen and liquid oxygen. (Hydro, wind, solar can be carbon neutral, or mostly neutral)

LOX/Kerosene not so much. Most solid propellants also have carbon cost in obtaining the materials put into the fuel, like aluminium, which has to be mined, smelted, prepared, etc, and a lot of that involves generating carbon.

But potentially, depending on the fuel, and the methods used to prepare it, it can be nearly carbon neutral.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 08:51 PM

10. At least 4 or 5 times a year I read of these awesome developments

 

that after 2-3 months you never hear of them again. Am I all alone?

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Response to AAO (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 08:55 PM

11. Nope, I'm right there with you. Remember Stoern? nt

PB

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Response to Poll_Blind (Reply #11)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 09:28 PM

13. The Steorn saga continues

But now they've found themselves in hot water.

http://pesn.com/2012/09/24/9602194_Steorn_Definitely_Not_Dead_--_Free_Energy_Technology_Coming/

Standard just over the horizon timelines are in effect.

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Response to Bosonic (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:28 PM

17. LOL

A 'high temperature materials test' over several weeks sitting on a wooden pallet?

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Response to AAO (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 08:58 PM

12. From solar, to microchips to other exotic technology

then poof they're gone forever

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 07:31 AM

18. AND with the development of a

"Warp" engine., we got the stars in our pockets.

OOPS, I saw a thread here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/122812804

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