The Oxfordshire-based firm has been developing a turbine that combines both jet and rocket technologies to achieve rates five times the speed of sound, to fly anywhere in the world in just four hours
Sabre engine.
 The Oxfordshire-based firm has been developing a turbine that combines both jet and rocket technologies to achieve rates five times the speed of sound, to fly anywhere in the world in just four hours

'Fighter jet' sized 4,000mph engine that could go from New York to London in under two hours to be built


Plans for a revolutionary hypersonic propulsion system have now taken a big step toward the construction of a ground demonstrator – but at roughly a quarter the size of the original vision.
Reaction Engines Ltd has scaled back its design for the Sabre engine to bring about a demonstrator that is more affordable and better suited to early applications, including a potential X-plane.
The Oxfordshire-based firm has been developing a turbine that combines both jet and rocket technologies to achieve rates five times the speed of sound, to fly anywhere in the world in just four hours.

Rather than aiming for a demonstrator that can achieve more than 150,000 lb thrust, the firm will instead now target an engine size capable of roughly 44,000 lb thrust, according to Aviation Week Network.
In the new plans for the Sabre demonstrator, researchers will target a smaller engine similar in size to the F135 engine for the F-35 joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
Such a system, scaled back due to the slowness of funding, could be used in multistage vehicles or hypersonic craft the size of an X-plane.
‘It is now more affordable, more rapid to execute and will potentially find its first application quicker,’ Reaction CEO Mark Thomas told Aviation Week Network.
‘It’s a quarter of Sabre, effectively. In an application for something like Skylon, the engine would have four combustion chambers connecting to the single nozzle, a bypass system and the same turbomachinery, intake and heat exchanger.

In the new plans for the Sabre demonstrator, researchers will target a smaller engine similar in size to the F135 engine for the F-35 joint Strike Fighter (pictured)
In the new plans for the Sabre demonstrator, researchers will target a smaller engine similar in size to the F135 engine for the F-35 joint Strike Fighter (pictured)


FUTURE OF FLIGHT? HOW THE SABRE JET ENGINE WORKS

A model of the revolutionary Sabre engine is pictured  
A model of the revolutionary Sabre engine is pictured  

The revolutionary Sabre engine could allow aircraft to take off from a runway and accelerate to five times the speed of sound, before switching to a rocket mode, propelling it into orbit.
The Sabre engine works by burning atmospheric air in combustion chambers. 
It then uses the heat to turbo-charge the engine.
At the moment, rockets have to carry liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to power them and the cost of carrying this heavy fuel is expensive. 
The new engine creates its own liquid oxygen by cooling air entering the engine from 1,000°C to minus 150°C in a hundredth of a second – six times faster than the blink of an eye – without creating ice blockages.

The revolutionary Sabre engine could allow aircraft to take off from a runway and accelerate to five times the speed of sound, before switching to a rocket mode, propelling it into orbit. A computer generated image of the ground demonstrator is pictured 
The revolutionary Sabre engine could allow aircraft to take off from a runway and accelerate to five times the speed of sound, before switching to a rocket mode, propelling it into orbit. A computer generated image of the ground demonstrator is pictured.  dailymail

This new class of aerospace engine is designed to enable aircraft to operate from standstill on the runway to speeds of over five times the speed of sound in the atmosphere. 
It can then transition to a rocket mode of operation, allowing spaceflight at speeds up to orbital velocity, equivalent to 25 times the speed of sound.


‘There is a view that you could modularize the engine to a far higher degree, so that you could have four compressors and still have a large heat exchanger. From this point onward you could go completely modular, so if you could demonstrate one element, then it is all about integration.’
Along with a JSF-sized engine for the ground demonstrator, the firm plans to solve the power gap between air-breathing and rocket engines.
While the engine is still in the design phase, the firm plans to see three main test phases stretching into the 2020s.
It’s hoped that the first test will take place within the next 12-15 months, the CEO tells AWN, with a focus on the heat exchanger and the core.

Rather than aiming for a demonstrator that can achieve more than 150,000 lb thrust, the firm will instead now target an engine size capable of roughly 44,000 lb thrust. Pictured, an artist's impression of the Lapcat A2 craft flying at Mach 5
Rather than aiming for a demonstrator that can achieve more than 150,000 lb thrust, the firm will instead now target an engine size capable of roughly 44,000 lb thrust. 
Pictured, an artist's impression of the Lapcat A2 craft flying at Mach 5

Here, a concept of the Skylon spaceplane using the engine is shown. But now, Reaction Engines Ltd has scaled back its design for the Sabre engine to bring about a demonstrator that is more affordable and better suited to early applications, including a potential X-plane
Here, a concept of the Skylon spaceplane using the engine is shown. But now, Reaction Engines Ltd has scaled back its design for the Sabre engine to bring about a demonstrator that is more affordable and better suited to early applications, including a potential X-plane. dailymail

Then, the team will move on to the integrated engine tests in 2020-2021.
The system will undergo sea-level testing, and researchers will simulate high velocity air by heating the air flow. And, they will run wind tunnel tests to assess flow conditions.
In the third phase, the firm is looking toward concepts of an X-plane or flight demonstration aircraft to put it to the test.
The core will eventually be tested in the UK, meaning Reaction will need to build a test facility with a hydrogen/air breathing preburner. 
In July, it was announced that the European Space Agency has invested $11 million toward the development of the engine.
Along with this, Reaction Engines announced that it had secured over $66 million in funding from the British government, with more than $55 million from the UK Space Agency, and the ESA contribution acting as the final piece.
At the moment, rockets have to carry liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to power them and the cost of carrying this heavy fuel is expensive.
The new engine creates its own liquid oxygen by cooling air entering the engine from 1,000°C to minus 150°C in a hundredth of a second – six times faster than the blink of an eye – without creating ice blockages.
This allows the engine to run safely at much higher power than is currently possible, without the risk that it will overheat and break apart. dailymail


Lapcat A2 craft flying at Mach 5



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