Reaction Engines’ Mach 5 engine is just the tip of the new aerospace boom
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November 2, 2019 - by Mike Butcher for techcrunch.com
Reaction Engines was founded in 1989 by three propulsion engineers from Rolls Royce: Alan Bond, Richard Varvill and John Scott Scott.
Their idea was that in order for an engine to reach hypersonic speeds, the air going into it would have to be rapidly cooled, otherwise the engine would melt. Reaction's breakthrough was inventing a "precooler" or heat exchanger which can take the air down to minus 150 degrees centigrade in less than a 20th of a second.
These ultra-lightweight "heat exchangers" would enable aircraft to fly over five times the speed of sound in the atmosphere. Thus the SABRE – Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine – was born.
The Sabre engine "breathes" air to make 20 per cent of the journey to orbit, before switching to rocket mode to complete the trip.
Last week, Reaction Engines passed a significant milestone. It successfully tested its innovative precooler at airflow temperature conditions representing Mach 5...
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