Space

December 7, 2012

Breakthrough jet/rocket engine announced

Tags:
Raphael Jaffe
Staff writer


Reaction Engines Ltd. of Great Britain has announced successful tests of its light weight heat exchanger, a critical component of its Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine.

The engine functions as both an air breathing jet, and then switches to use stored liquid oxygen, as does a rocket engine. Their studies show that single stage to orbit rocketry is possible with that engine. Also, an aircraft with such rockets can reach Mach 5, so that a journey halfway around the world would only require 4 or 5 hours.

The SABRE engine incorporated in a new aircraft, known as Skylon, could potentially be used to deliver satellites to orbit, and would then return to earth. The engines are designed to operate much like a conventional jet engine at up to around Mach†5.5 at 26 km altitude. Then, air inlet closes and the engine operates as a highly efficient rocket to orbital speed. The proposed SABRE engine is not a scramjet, but a jet engine running combined cycles of a precooled jet engine, rocket engine and ramjet. The key technology for this type of precooled jet engine is a light weight heat exchanger.

In a Nov. 28 press release, Reaction Engines announced successful tests of such a heat exchanger. More than 100 test runs have been completed. The tests were funded and overseen by the European Space Agency. The heat exchanger uses liquid helium to cool air from 1,000 degrees Celsius to about minus 150 degrees Celsius. And there is no frost problem with the exchanger.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
nasa-astronaut

Astronaut Stephen Frick retires from NASA

Astronaut Stephen Frick has retired from NASA to accept a position in the private sector. Frick, who flew as both a shuttle pilot and commander, left the Agency July 13. Steve has been a great asset to the astronaut office and ...
 
 
NASA/JPL-CalTech/R. Hurt photograph

NASA’s Kepler mission discovers bigger, older cousin to Earth

NASA/JPL-CalTech/R. Hurt photograph This size and scale of the Kepler-452 system compared alongside the Kepler-186 system and the solar system. Kepler-186 is a miniature solar system that would fit entirely inside the orbit of ...
 
 
NASA photograph by A. Gemignani

Launch, docking returns ISS crew to full strength

NASA photograph by A. Gemignani The Soyuz TMA-17M rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan July 22, 2015 carrying Expedition 44 Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), F...
 

 
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI photograph

NASA’s New Horizons team finds haze, flowing ice on Pluto

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI photograph Pluto sends a breathtaking farewell to New Horizons. Backlit by the sun, Pluto’s atmosphere rings its silhouette like a luminous halo in this image taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft around ...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA satellite camera provides ‘EPIC’ view of Earth

NASA photograph Earth as seen on July 6, 2015, from a distance of one million miles by a NASA scientific camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft. A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) ...
 
 
NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI photograph

NASA’s New Horizons discovers frozen plains in heart of Pluto’s ‘heart’

In the center left of Pluto’s vast heart-shaped feature – informally named “Tombaugh Regio” — lies a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>