The Biggest Breakthrough In Propulsion Since The Jet Engine

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posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 06:09 AM
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Aircraft projects are not really my thing, so feel free to give me a kick if I am behind the times here but..this looks like it could be big.

Reaction Engines can announce the biggest breakthrough in aerospace propulsion technology since the invention of the jet engine. Critical tests have been successfully completed on the key technology for SABRE, an engine which will enable aircraft to reach the opposite side of the world in under 4 hours, or to fly directly into orbit and return in a single stage, taking off and landing on a runway.

Space Travel

Very interesting times ahead..
Reaction Engines home page

Living in Europe with my family in Australia, I hope this makes it through testing! Though something tells me this may be for my kids or theirs..

Cheers

CTH




posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 06:22 AM
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It's basically a hydrogen engine. This reminds me of the work NASA did on hydrogen efficiency with lean fuel burn tests, (something that gets misquoted by HHO proponents all the time). Although, this also uses insane compression:



In the past, attempts to design single stage to orbit propulsion systems have been unsuccessful largely due to the weight of an on-board oxidiser such as liquid oxygen, needed by conventional rocket engines. One possible solution to reduce the quantity of on-board oxidizer required is by using oxygen already present in the atmosphere in the combustion process just like an ordinary jet engine.

While this sounds simple, the problem is that in air-breathing mode, the air must be compressed to around 140 atmospheres before injection into the combustion chambers which raises its temperature so high that it would melt any known material. SABRE avoids this by first cooling the air using a Pre-cooler heat exchanger until it is almost a liquid. Then a relatively conventional turbo compressor using jet engine technology can be used to compress the air to the required pressure.


www.reactionengines.co.uk...


140 atmospheres. To get an idea of that in an engine, consider:


Gasoline engines take in a mixture of air and gasoline and compress it to not more than 12.8 bar (1.28 MPa), then use a spark plug to ignite the mixture when it is compressed by the piston head in each cylinder.


en.wikipedia.org...

1 atmosphere = 1.01325 bars


This is interesting, first time I've seen it.


I seriously doubt this will make it into commercial passenger jets any time soon, the designs that are needed for the speeds produced by this tech would be pretty tough to apply. Think SR71.

Although, this seems to completely blow every private space plane program way out of the water. Richard Branson is is likely salivating over getting his hands on this engine. They will have immediate sales if they can prove reliability and efficacy.
edit on 30-11-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 06:25 AM
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I have been following the Skylon development for some time, and indeed it is big. If successfull, Skylon will revolutionise both air and space travel. And so far it seems like they are on the right track.

EDIT: If you are interested in details, there is a 100+ page thread about Skylon on nasaspaceflight.com, with contributions from Skylon engineers themselves:

Clicky
edit on 30/11/12 by Maslo because: link


And a wikipedia link
edit on 30/11/12 by Maslo because: wiki



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 06:26 AM
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They said this would save lifting 250 tons of cryogenic oxidizer, but how much liquid Hydrogen will they need to precool that much air down below -183 where oxygen changes mass? Sounded like they were building a high speed oxygen distillery. They must be raising the pressure much higher than just 5 or 10 atmospheres so that the liquefaction takes place at a relatively high temperature.
edit on 30-11-2012 by Cauliflower because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 08:07 AM
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Recently, a documentary was made about this technology, available on youtube:

The Three Rocketeers



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 08:16 AM
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This looks promising! But what happens when the heat condenser fails midflight and the engine becomes superheated will it explode? Hope the have there tech tolerances down to a tee.
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posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 08:37 AM
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While fascinating and promising, I cant help but think this exciting discovery will go the same way as its predecessor, HOTOL. Unless the Americans buy it of course.

A link to another source;

Flight International report

While here is some further information including diagrams from earlier this year;

Next Spaceplane

While if you want to look further back, here is something I remember reading as a schoolboy that is directly related to this project;

archive
edit on 30-11-2012 by waynos because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 09:21 AM
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Originally posted by waynos


While fascinating and promising, I cant help but think this exciting discovery will go the same way as its predecessor, HOTOL. Unless the Americans buy it of course.



Always a possibility, however this one has gotten off of the drawing board, passed several ESA tests and has received some government moneys. So it has gotten further than HOTOL did. If they can get past the next phase i wouldn't be at all surprised to see a US company buy them out tbh.

BBC seems to have quite a few updates on this project every now and again as well, latest is here.

www.bbc.co.uk...



posted on Nov, 30 2012 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by solidshot
 


Thanks for that. I cant believe I didn't look on the BBC before, I'll this to my regular checks on the Bloodhound LSR attempt


www.bbc.co.uk...
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posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 09:15 PM
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Originally posted by andy06shake
This looks promising! But what happens when the heat condenser fails midflight and the engine becomes superheated will it explode? Hope the have there tech tolerances down to a tee.
edit on 30-11-2012 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)


Rocketry FAQ (applies to all models since 1943)

Q: what happens when (one of hundreds of critical parts) fails (during fueling|at ignition|during launch|midflight|course-correction|re-entry) and the (engine/fuel/oxidizer/guidance/turbopump) does (abnormal behavior X,Y,Z,A,B,C,D,E,F,G, etc)

A: boom

This is why rocket science is hard.
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posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 09:17 PM
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I thought the point of this engine and its precooling is that it is NOT a rocket at that stage?


Rather the cooling reduces the temperature of the incoming air to a point wher eit can be usefully used.

Or have I misunderstood?

the fuel is crygenically cooled hydrogen - and it is a helium heat intercooler that cools the incoming air charge, and that heat is used to power parts of the engine and also heat the hydrogen prior to combustion. In effect the cycle of the helium is the same as a jet engine - but instead of combustion it is getting its energy to do work from the air.



posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 01:47 AM
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Originally posted by andy06shake
This looks promising! But what happens when the heat condenser fails midflight and the engine becomes superheated will it explode? Hope the have there tech tolerances down to a tee.
edit on 30-11-2012 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)



The same thing that happened when Wilbur asked Orville, what happens if this belt pulley comes off this engine?

lol

Didnt stop them





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