SKYLON Studied as the Next European Launch System Under €1 Million ESA Contract

Abingdon, England (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd have signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for a €1 million ($1.33 million) study into the next European Launch System.

The “Skylon-based European Launch Service Operator” contract has been finalised by the Launcher Directorate of the European Space Agency in Paris, France and work has started to study how the SKYLON spaceplane can meet Europe’s Space access demands in terms of cost, flexibility and responsiveness, from the early 2020’s.

The study will be concluded by the end of the year, with input from a number of companies. Thales Alenia Space in Italy will be designing the SKYLON Upper Stage (SUS) systems for GEO satellite deployment; QinetiQ Space in Belgium are to study the various payload carriers within the vehicle’s payload bay to ensure maximum mission flexibility; London Economics are preparing the business model to independently assess economic case; Grafton Technology, based in the UK and supported by the civil engineering company, Jacobs, are studying the necessary spaceport facilities at Kourou for SKYLON. Also supporting the study in the definition of the payload connections is 42 Technology Ltd, based in the UK.

Notes to Editors

1 – Reaction Engines Limited (REL) is a privately owned UK Company with core capabilities in the research, design, manufacture, development and testing of ultra-lightweight heat exchangers for aerospace applications and the advanced SABRE engines and vehicles such as Skylon that they enable.

SKYLON is a fully reusable launch vehicle under development at Reaction Engines Ltd, capable of launching 15 tonnes into Low Earth Orbit. The primary aim of developing this vehicle is to dramatically improve the costs, reliability and long lead times associated with current rocket technology.

More information about Reaction Engines, SABRE and SKYLON can be found on

2 – European Space Agency –

3 – Thales Alenia Space –

4 – QinetiQ Space

The aerospace company QinetiQ Space designs and builds small satellites, satellite components and scientific instruments for space travel. QinetiQ Space started in Kruibeke in 1969 as Verhaert. The company initially developed industrial products, and has been working on space travel projects since 1983. The Belgian organization is the most important supplier of small satellites for ESA, the European Space Agency. QinetiQ Space employs 70 people, achieved a turnover of 20 million euro in the financial year 2012-2013, and became part of the British-American QinetiQ Group in 2005. More information on our website

5 – London Economics

London Economics (LE) is a leading independent European economic consultancy with a dedicated team of professional economists specialised in the application of best practice economic and financial analysis to the space sector. More information on our website

6 – Grafton Technology

Grafton is a space systems consultancy and support service provider. From its base in Poole, Dorset, the company has been involved in space programmes around the world for more than 20 years, providing highly experienced professionals in all space system specialist areas. More information on our website

7 – Jacobs –

8 – 42 Technology Limited

42T is a product design and development consultancy that specialises in creating innovative products for consumer and business markets. The company’s core team of industry-experienced product designers and engineers works closely with academia, selected associates and partner companies to offer a cost-effective and efficient approach to new product development. 42T was founded in 1998 and is based in St Ives, near Cambridge. For further information please visit or contact: