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Designed as a single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) reusable winged launch vehicle, it was to be fitted with a unique liquid air cycle engine (LACE), the RB545, built by Rolls Royce. The engine was technically a liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen design, but by collecting and liquifying oxygen from the air as the spacecraft climbed, the amount of LOX (liquid oxygen) carried onboard was dramatically reduced.
- SNIP -
The engine was intended to switch from jet propulsion to pure rocket propulsion at 26-32 km high, by which time the craft would be travelling at Mach 5 to 7. After reaching orbit, HOTOL was intended to re-enter the atmosphere and glide down to land on a conventional runway. The internal landing gear were too small to carry the weight of the fully-fueled rocket, so emergency landings required the fuel to be dumped. (my bold)
Originally posted by D4rk Kn1ght
Thank Thatcher for this disaster to British space and aero aviation,