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British Aerospace Takes Stake in Reaction Engines

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posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 11:26 AM
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BAE Systems has taken a 20 percent stake in a British company developing an air-breathing rocket engine capable of powering aircraft at speeds in excess of 4,500 miles per hour.

Europe’s largest defense contractor announced Nov. 2 it was investing £20.6 million (US$31.8 million) in the Abingdon, England-based company Reaction Engines.

The synergetic air-breathing rocket engine, or SABRE for short, uses ground-breaking technology able to propel an air vehicle at more than Mach 5 in the atmosphere before transitioning into a rocket mode giving spaceflight at speeds up to orbital velocity, equivalent to 25 times the speed of sound.


link.

Some comments and notes.

First off this is STILL a research project. Not a working bench prototype, never mind a flying one.

The engine itself is pretty interesting. The SABRE is derived from the long dead work on the British HOTOL. It is one of the so-called air breathing rocket engines. In this case, it cryogenically cools the air to get liquid oxygen and then uses a more traditional rocket engine back end (combustion chamber and nozzle).

All of the presentations I have seen by Reaction Engines gives good information and a path forward for the engine itself. Their information about the flight vehicle, semi understandably, is junk. They assume some really nontrivial breakthroughs in material science between now and when they fly for the airframe materials. This is semi forgivable because they're an engine company, not building the entire aerospace craft. So, please, take the 'all the way to orbit' with a grain of salt.

Even so, this engine could be as useful as a scramjet for doing hypersonic flight even if less than Mach 25. There's a seriously nontrivial caveat here, too. This engine is VERY complex. Complexity is bad for maintainability. Hypersonic flight is BRUTAL on the simplest things. So, again, assume once they get it flying it is going to take years, more years than they probably think, to get this flying in even the hypersonic regime.

Its still nifty and I admire the fact they've kept at it all these years and made progress.




posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 11:39 AM
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I have been keeping a eye on this over the years and really pleased.

This really could put the Uk not just at the front of the aviation industry again but also space and serve as a gateway to a new era in the exploitation of space base resources.

I just hope we dont do something stupid like give it to the USA or China for some blankets and beads .
Cooperate sure but dont hand over control.
edit on 2-11-2015 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 11:47 AM
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a reply to: crazyewok

I'm pleased they've kept at it. They picked a different route than the US for hypersonic speed and that's a good thing. Not all eggs ought to be in the same basket.



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 11:55 AM
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a reply to: crazyewok


I just hope we dont do something stupid like give it to the USA


That figures, like the U.S. hasn't given 70% percent of our technology to you. Besides, what makes you think the U.S. didn't hand the technology to Rolls Royce to begin with?
edit on 10 27 2013 by donktheclown because: disapproval of ingrates force additional comment.



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 11:57 AM
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originally posted by: donktheclown
a reply to: crazyewok


I just hope we dont do something stupid like give it to the USA


That figures, like the U.S. hasn't given 70% percent of our technology to you.


Sorry in this regard I am purely looking for my own nations economic intrests.

I have no problem shareing it via cooperation but only if it means the UK still gets the most profits from it.


edit on 2-11-2015 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 01:16 PM
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I too have been following this project with interest. It has received UK Government support and is supported by the European Space Agency. There is also a link with the proposed space-port, which should be built in the SW in my opinion, or Wales, to give them a crack at regeneration.


originally posted by: crazyewok
I just hope we dont do something stupid like give it to the USA or China for some blankets and beads .


Sadly, there are many examples of British ingenuity being given away due to government short-sightedness. This type of project is the future and exactly the type of thing should be protected and not squandered.



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 01:22 PM
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a reply to: paraphi

This really could be a economic game changer on the scale of the industrial revolution if it works as planned as it could but trillions of dollars worth of resources economically within reach.

Even if not , it could still provide a billion dollar satilite industry here.

So yeah I hope we dont squander this.



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 01:39 PM
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a reply to: crazyewok



This really could be a economic game changer on the scale of the industrial revolution


It makes absolutely no economic sense to mine space except to build things in space. Even if you got it down to $1/lbs into orbit (we're currently at roughly $1000 for just the rocket and there's a whole lot more to a launch than just the rocket), its still far, far cheaper to mine on earth.

For example, mining rare earth elements here on earth costs about a $2/kg to the end customer (this is from the mining company when I was doing some research a four years ago). Everything else is just the market inflation. Add more minerals to the market and the price goes down.

This would be the equivalent of places people in the British colonies in North America to ship back timber if Britain still had all of its primordial forests. You need the demand to get far, far more extensive. It'll some day, may be happen, but probably not in our life times.

The Club of Rome was uber wrong.



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 01:39 PM
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a reply to: donktheclown




what makes you think the U.S. didn't hand the technology to Rolls Royce to begin with?



Well if they did ( which i doubt ) then it would be payback for Britain giving The U.S. The Jet Engine Technology during WWII





posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 01:42 PM
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originally posted by: donktheclown
Besides, what makes you think the U.S. didn't hand the technology to Rolls Royce to begin with?

Cant handle the fact us brits may have invented something you haven't?



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 05:05 PM
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originally posted by: donktheclown
a reply to: crazyewok


I just hope we dont do something stupid like give it to the USA


That figures, like the U.S. hasn't given 70% percent of our technology to you. Besides, what makes you think the U.S. didn't hand the technology to Rolls Royce to begin with?


If I recall my history right, wasn't WW2 Germany the source of both modern rockets and jets?

I wouldn't get too precious about 'invented here'.



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 05:25 PM
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a reply to: chr0naut

Frank Whittle

Robert Goddard

I suppose their surnames sound a little German..



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 06:24 PM
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a reply to: crazyewok

Good for BAE to jump in and try to keep it in country (or have a say in where the tech goes). SABRE engines have great potental and it would only have been a matter of time till an American company swallowed up their intellectual patents if the tech proves to bear fruit.
edit on 2-11-2015 by Sammamishman because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 2 2015 @ 06:31 PM
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originally posted by: Poon
a reply to: chr0naut

Frank Whittle

Robert Goddard

I suppose their surnames sound a little German..


The concept of liquid fueled rockets preceded Goddard. In 1903, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky published "Исследование мировых пространств реактивными приборами" (The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices), which included his rocket equation. He also advocated the use of liquid hydrogen and oxygen for propellant, calculating their maximum exhaust velocity.

Also, Whittle was not the first to ever design a gas turbine jet engine. From Wikipedia:


The patent for a stationary gas turbine was granted to John Barber in England in 1791. The first gas turbine to successfully run self-sustaining was built in 1903 by Norwegian engineer Ægidius Elling. Limitations in design and practical engineering and metallurgy prevented such engines reaching manufacture. The main problems were safety, reliability, weight and, especially, sustained operation. The first patent for using a gas turbine to power an aircraft was filed in 1921 by Frenchman Maxime Guillaume. His engine was an axial-flow turbojet. Alan Arnold Griffith published An Aerodynamic Theory of Turbine Design in 1926 leading to experimental work at the RAE.




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