Airborne Engineering Moves to New Headquarters

2 July 2009

This week Airborne Engineering Limited blazed a new trail in British rocketry by moving to facilities at the former Rocket Propulsion Establishment at Westcott – the site where the rocket engines of the British Blue Streak rocket were tested in the 1960s.

The move includes the refurbishing of two large static test stands, which are designed to accommodate rocket engines of several tonnes thrust. These test stands are being fully instrumented with state of the art test equipment used at Airborne Engineering’s former test facility, and will help establish a new rocket manufacturing and test facility based in the UK. These facilities have been secured by arrangement with AMPAC-ISP who run the Westcott test site and also build and test their own successful range of rocket motors for satellite applications.

Airborne Engineering has several ongoing contracts for rocket development and testing, including two motors for Reaction Engines Limited, one developing a green, air breathing, hydrogen fuelled engine for a hypersonic passenger transport plane programme, the other an experimental engine contributing to the development of advanced air breathing SABRE engines for the SKYLON spaceplane. Both of these projects are part funded by the European Space Agency. As well as developing its own rocket propulsion systems, Airborne Engineering also plays a key role in the development of the Canary sounding rocket which will test advanced nozzles this summer.

Airborne Engineering’s past experience includes the development of avionics and life support systems for many of the round-the-world balloon attempts, the Qinetiq-1 edge of space manned balloon attempt, and a prototype of the SpaceX manned space capsule. Airborne Engineering was also a partner in the STERN test rocket programme and was the developer of the innovative Gyroc hovering rocket platform.