UK Government Wants to Fund Development of Skylon’s SABRE Engine

Skylon precooler test. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon precooler test. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

Via the BBC’s Jonathan Amos and New Space Watch’s Clark Lindsey comes a report that the British government wants to help fund the development of SABRE engine, which will power Reaction Engine’s Skylon space plane.

The plan was included in a spending document produced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. The document is not specific on how much the British government would invest in the project.

The report does not mention space or the UK Space Agency, but it does provide a good overview of the government’s plans for science and innovation. An excerpt from the document follows.

Science and Innovation

To ensure that the UK has the facilities to develop its world class research base and meet the Government’s ambition of being the best place in the world to conduct scientific research, the Spending Round commits to:

  • maintaining resource funding for science in cash terms at £4.6 billion in 2015-16, as well as providing additional resource funding of £185 million for the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to support innovation, including Catapult Centres and the Biomedical Catalyst;
  • increasing science capital funding in real terms from £0.6 billion in 2012-13 to £1.1 billion in 2015-16, and in line with inflation to 2016-17. The Government has
  • increased capital spending on science over the course of this Parliament by £1.4 billion above the amount committed at Spending Review 2010, enabling significant investment in projects including autonomous robotics, Big Data, and major upgrades and new facilities at HarwellScience and Innovation Campus; and
  • providing long-term stability for science infrastructure over the next Parliament, to maximise the potential of the UK’s world-leading scientific excellence. The Government will:
    • set an overall science capital budget which grows in line with inflation each year to 2020-21;
    • extend the Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF) to 2016-17, making available at least £100 million each year of match-funding to leverage private investment in science infrastructure; and
    • commit to funding high-priority projects, including the Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) and a new supercomputer for the Met Office.

The Government announced an expansion of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) at Budget 2013. £100 million will be channelled through the scheme in 2013-14. This national programme supports a broad range of innovative companies, especially small businesses, to develop ground-breaking solutions to specific public sector needs. All departments will be expected to expand their use of the scheme.

  • Hug Doug

    Maybe if they get UK government funding they can build it in less than 10 years.

  • DaIllogicalVulkan

    Finally! poor Mr. Alan Bond has been busting his tail for years on this project its about time he got the funding needed to truly revolutionize space travel as we know it.

  • Jay Jay

    Well about bloody time!! Many congratulations to Mr.Bond and team. I have followed SKYLON for many years – it’s a real shame we don’t have the sort of visionary in governement but obviously very lucky to have Alan working here in Blighty rather than running for the money!

    Good luck to the whole SKYLON team and a huge pat on the back for Mr.Bond!!

  • Seb Alexandra

    Thanks guys really appreciate your comments I will pass them on the Alan Bond and the team.
    Seb Alexandra
    General Counsel
    Reaction Engines Ltd

  • Lee

    It would be my dream to see Alan Bond and the Teams Skylon Space Plane recieve all the necessary funding from the UK Government to transform this concept into a reality. Built in Britain, putting the Great back into Great Britain and reestablishing our countries pride in manufacturing. 🙂

  • Lee

    I just hope this idea when fully developed doesn’t get sold to foreign companies abroad so they can develop it and take all the credit for it. That would be just plain wrong, but sadly so many fantastic inventions from blightly seem to go that way. It’s like a British decease, selling off Britain’s assets to the highest bidders around the globe; Rolls Royce Cars, Jaguar Land Rover, British Steel, Tetley and so on. When is this cultural decline going to stop as we endeavour to keep what’s ours. After all could you imagine the Germans selling off BMW to a foreign company? Would never happen but here in the UK it’s all about greed and no pride. Let’s make sure this never happens to Skylon, Great Britains first Spaceplane. ~ Even the British public would donate to this project, if they felt it would keep it British. Reaction Engines, British Aerospace, Rolls Royce Aero Engines and small component companies dotted around the UK could do there bit to help build this great plane. As well as UK Government funding when needed. What we need is, a massive advertising campaign throughout the entire UK. Advertising Skylon on billboards, through the Media, Schools and Universities because most people in our country, haven’t a clue what we actually make anymore. it’s about making the UK Citizen more culturally aware of what Britain is doing these days. 🙂