In addition to being able to power a reusable, single-stage-to-orbit space plane, Reaction Engines’ SABRE propulsion technology could help to power a Mach 5 transport that would be able to fly from Brussels to Sydney in less than two to four hours.
The British company has designed a SABRE-derived SCIMITAR pre-cooled engine powered by liquid hydrogen that uses the company’s lightweight heat exchanges. The engine would be capable of sustained Mach 5 flight.
According to the company, the engine can:
- Be designed for efficient subsonic and hypersonic cruise modes
- Operate independently all the way from zero forward speed on the runway to Mach 5.5 i.e. they do not need assistance from other engines to get up to speed (c.f. scramjets need to be accelerated to Mach 3-4 before they will work)
Reaction Engines also has been studying a 300-passenger civilian transport capable of traveling approximately 12,500 miles:
The A2 vehicle, which is designed to be propelled by the Scimitar engine, has exceptional range (ca. 20,000 km both subsonic and supersonic) and is therefore able to service a large number of routes whilst simultaneously avoiding supersonic overflight of populated areas and the related sonic booms that can be heard on the ground. Its good subsonic performance enables it to service conventional subsonic overland routes.
Reaction Engines is performing work on the project under the Long-term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies (LAPCAT) study, which is being 50 percent funded under the European Union’s Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development 6 (FP6).
LAPCAT Facts & Figures
(Source: Reaction Engines)
|Brussels to Sydney (via North Pole and Bering straits to avoid supersonic overflight of Eurasian land mass)|
|Flight time:||4.6 hours (under realistic air traffic control conditions)|
|Reserve range:||5000 km @ Mach 0.9|
|Payload||300 passengers (plus baggage)|
|Gross take-off mass:||400 tonnes|
|Fuel mass:||198 tonnes (liquid hydrogen)|
|Fuselage length:||139 m|
|Fuselage diameter:||7.5 m|
|Wing Area:||900 m2|
|Mach 0.9 cruise Lift/Drag 11.0 (5.9 km altitude) SFC 96.0 kN/kg/sMach 5.0 cruise Lift/Drag 5.9 (25-28 km altitude) SFC 40.9 kN/kg/s
Take-off sideline noise @450m 101.9 dBA