Reaction Engines: “Majority” of Experts at Review Found Skylon to be “Viable Concept”


On 20th and 21st September, the UK Space Agency held a System Requirements Review on the commercial and technical capabilities of SKYLON at the International Space Innovation Centre at Harwell, England. Approximately ninety invited experts attended the event venturing from various European and global nations including the USA, Russia, India, Japan and South Korea. In the months leading up to the Review, three engineers from the European Space Agency (ESA) were seconded to REL in order to investigate our technology, methods and analysis. ESA will provide the UK Space Agency with an official report on the Workshop within in the next month.

Reaction Engines Acquires Two Manufacturing Companies



Reaction Engines Ltd has recently acquired two new manufacturing companies in the local area:

  • Crossman Engineering Ltd, specialising in fabrication
  • Brite Precision, (specialising) in precision machining.

The acquisition of both companies has significantly extended Reaction Engines Ltd’s production capabilities, which is essential to our future programme for SKYLON.

Reaction Engines Celebrates 20 Years, Looks Forward to Success with Skylon



On 15th August 2009, this Oxfordshire aerospace company celebrated its 20th anniversary. Reaction Engines Ltd (REL) has been developing the SKYLON spaceplane, a progression from the HOTOL project, over the past 2 decades and believes that a single stage to orbit (SSTO) reusable launch vehicle (RLV) is the future of global Space travel.

The secret to SKYLON’s success is its innovative SABRE engine which possesses the dual capability to be in air-breathing mode up to 30km and Mach 5 before switching to rocket mode.


Reaction Engines Completes Studies on Orbital Transfer Vehicle



REL has now completed studies into a large rocket stage called Fluyt. The orbital transfer vehicle is named after a class of large cargo ships which contributed to Dutch success in building a large trading empire in the 16th Century. Fluyt is a reusable stage which would be based at a spaceport in LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and would carry large payloads of between 10 and 15 tonnes to GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit), lunar orbit or even to planets. It has the capability to be staged together in order to further increase its payload.

The study was conducted to prove that the new SKYLON D1 configuration could support operations leading to lunar bases, manned Mars missions and very large systems in GEO.

The Space Show This Week


David Livingston has the following guests on The Space Show this week:

1. The Monday, August 3, 2009, 2-3:30 PM PDT Program Dr. Eric Davis and Marc Millis, editors of “Frontiers of Propulsion Science” published by AIAA.

2. The Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 7-8:30 PM PDT welcomes Lt. Len Johnson to the show regarding the St. Andrews Rocket Team ORION Project.

3. The First Wednesday Program, August 5 , 2009, 9:30-11:00 AM PDT welcomes Dr. Bernard Foing of the European Space Agency (ESA) to the show to discuss Smart-1 highlights, and future lunar exploration (global robotic village and international lunar bases.

4. The Second Wednesday Program, August 5 , 2009, 2-3:30 PM PDT welcomes Eric Daniels and Margaret Lau of the California Space Authority to discuss the new program, French Aerospace Valley Association.

5. The Thursday, August 6, 2009 9:30-11:30 AM PDT Program welcomes Mark Hempsell of Reaction Engines Company in the UK to the show.

Updates on Reaction Engines and British Space Development


Rob Coppinger over at Hyperbola blog has a couple of interesting interviews with leading figures in the UK’s high tech area.

One video features Reaction Engines’ managing director Alan Bond, who discusses the company’s work on the Skylon single-stage-to-orbit vehicle.

Coppinger also interviews Lord Paul Drayson, the UK minister of state for science and innovation. Drayson discusses the Skylon project and other developments within the British space sector.

Skylon Update: Tests Continue on Viper Engine

Reaction Engines has this update on its website (via Hobby Space and

During late February and continuing into March, Reaction Engines Ltd returned to testing the Viper Engine at its B9 facility at the Culham Science Centre. 61 test firings have been conducted during this period. These preparations began in order to ensure that the Viper Engine was ready for both the Technical Demonstration Programme and also for cryogenic testing.

What Makes Skylon a Feasible SSTO?

British Space Plane Concept Gets Boost

The Skylon spaceplane would boast a unique SABRE hybrid engine which can act as both an air-breathing jet engine and a rocket engine in space. This gives it a potential advantage over other space plane designs, according to Mark Hempsell, director for Future Programs at Reaction Engines.


Are SSTOs Close to Being a Reality at Last?

Air-breathing planes: the spaceships of the future?
New Scientist

For decades, engineers have dreamed of a better way: a single-stage-to-orbit vehicle that would be lighter, cheaper, and easy to reuse. A fleet of these vehicles, supporters say, could be almost as easy to maintain as conventional jet planes, reducing the preparation time before each launch from months to days or even hours.