AN INTERVIEW WITH REACTION ENGINES, THE COMPANY BEHIND THE NEW PLANE THAT CAN FLY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD IN JUST 4 HOURS & ALSO ALLOWS FOR PRIVATE SPACE TRAVEL WITH SAME PLANE!!
INTERESTING ENGINEERING STORY:
Most of you will know about the Concorde, the supersonic airliner that slashed flight times in half. Well now, British aerospace firm Reaction Engines are working on an aircraft it believes would be able to take passengers anywhere in the world in just four hours. Yes, you could get from New York to Hong Kong, or London to Sydney, in just four hours. And if that’s not cool enough, it will also be able to fly in outer space.
The new system that the firm is working on is called SABRE, which is a jet engine that also doubles as a rocket engine. In a commercial plane, this could whizz 300 passengers around the world at Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, “pretty easily,” according to chief engineer Alan Bond. The ambitious spaceplane the company is working on, ‘SKYLON’, could propel the craft into orbit at 25 times the speed of sound. As explained by Bond in a new video released by Reaction Engines, the only truly unique thing about the engine is the precooler device they’ve been working on. The SABRE engine “breathes” in atmospheric air, capturing some 1,250 tonnes that are then used in the engines. This air is then cooled from more than 1,000oC (1,832oF) to -150oC (-238oF) in just 0.1 seconds, an “astronomical” cooling rate of 400 megawatts.
This air-breathing ability means that 250 tonnes of oxygen can be captured from the atmosphere for use in the combustion process, reducing the amount of oxygen that has to be carried in propellant tanks. This overcomes the weight issue that has limited the design of crafts such as this in the past. The new plane may also provide a cost effective solution to space cargo. After taking off like any other plane it can then go into rocket mode and go into orbit. After delivering its cargo the plane can then return to Earth and land just like any other commercial airliner. Tests are expected to commence in 2019.