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At speeds approaching Mach 5, even the best metal alloys soften and melt, and at hypersonic speeds, the air coming into the SABRE engine has 25 times the force of a Category 5 hurricane and heat like something blasting out of a cutting torch. This means that the incoming air needs to be cooled dramatically, so it passes over a series of ultralight heat exchangers that use the cryogenic hydrogen fuel to cool it down from 1,000° C (1,832° F) to -150° C (-302° F) in 1/100th of a second.
originally posted by: Blackfinger
Reaction Engines I thought was bought out by P&W a couple years ago and moved to the states.
News of the latest funding boost comes as Reaction completes assembly of the first pre-cooler HTX and associated equipment for evaluation in the company’s new U.S. TF2 test site at Front Range Airport near Watkins, Colorado. The facility was set up following the award in 2017 of a Darpa contract to test the HTX at airflow temperatures in excess of 1,800F (1,000C), representing inlet conditions at Mach 5. “We will be marrying up the HTX and support equipment later in the year,” Thomas says.
Reaction Engines in the UK meanwhile is continuing to develop the TF1 engine test facility at Westcott, where the first ground-based demonstration of the Sabre rocket engine will take place around the end of the decade. The UK site will incorporate a hydrogen/air-breathing pre-burner to condition the air for core evaluation and is adjacent to a test facility where Reaction’s rocket nozzle tests also have been conducted.
originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: anzha
Cool stuff to be sure!
I guess my big question is, I don't really understand the value (strategic or otherwise) of the whole hypersonic flight discussion, particularly in the shadow of available rocket technology. I mean, developing the engine technology is one thing, but then there's the whole part about navigation systems and dynamic flight surfaces thing which complicates the picture exponentially. So the notion this technology could ever function like a traditional 'aircraft' seems pretty far fetched.
What does a hypersonic vehicle accomplish that a rocket can't already do? Plus, rockets are already able to reach orbit, and then return from orbit in another location. Is it just that the hypersonic vehicle would be 'reusable', because we already have that capability in rocketry as well?
ETA...My point about navigation and flight surfaces, just to be clear, is basically this; we already possess technology to guide rockets to a target (in the air, or from orbit and from nearly all points in between). So, the only true value I can see would be to have something which looked and functioned more like an aircraft, being able to take off, perform dynamic aerial maneuvers and land back at the same point. And then there's the whole human physiology thing, the human body can only endure so much force...so this would seem to be only a 'pilot-less' technology, which again makes me wonder why a rocket can't fulfill this same role.