BAE Makes $31.8 Million Strategic Investment in Reaction Engines

Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)

LONDON (BAE Systems PR) — BAE Systems plc and Reaction Engines Limited (‘Reaction Engines’) today announced a strategic investment by BAE Systems and a working collaboration to accelerate Reaction Engines’ development of SABRE™ – a new aerospace engine class that combines both jet and rocket technologies with the potential to revolutionise hypersonic flight and the economics of space access.

The transaction is subject to the approval of Reaction Engines’ shareholders.

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EU Provides $77 Million for SABRE Engine R&D

Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (EC PR) — The European Commission has found that a £50 million (around €71 million) grant that the UK authorities intend to provide for designing a SABRE space launcher engine is in line with EU state aid rules.

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Reaction Engines Marks Installation of New Vacuum Furnace

Representatives from the UK Space Agency, Department of BIS and European Space Agency recently visited REL's pre-cooler manufacturing centre in Culham, UK. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Representatives from the UK Space Agency, Department of BIS and European Space Agency recently visited REL’s pre-cooler manufacturing centre in Culham, UK. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

CULHAM, England (Reaction Engines PR) — The Reaction Engines team are celebrating the installation and current commissioning of a new state-of-the-art high vacuum furnace at Culham Science Centre, Oxfordshire.

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Reaction Engines Begins New Round of Rocket Testss

WESTCOTT, England (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd. have begun their latest round of rocket engine testing in Westcott, UK.

The SABRE engine requires a novel design of the rocket engine’s thrust chamber and nozzle to allow operation in both air-breathing and rocket modes, as well as a smooth transition between the two. The Advanced Nozzle project is demonstrating the feasibility of this concept and represents a significant technology development effort towards the SABRE demonstrator engine.

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Reaction Engines Reaches SABRE Engine Milestone

Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

ABINGTON, England (Reaction Engines PR) — This year, the Reaction Engines team are expanding in staff and activities to complete the SABRE demonstrator programme, with delivery on track for 2019. The company has relocated to larger premises on Culham Science Centre; consolidated its two manufacturing subsidiaries to a single new location in Didcot; and is recruiting across the company, ready for the design, manufacture and testing of the full SABRE engine cycle. This growth phase has also included the purchase of new, bespoke equipment which will enable Reaction Engines to manufacture its proprietary SABRE pre-coolers in-house, at full scale.

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USAF Research Laboratory Investigates Potential of SABRE Engine

Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

Space.com reports that Reaction Engine’s SABRE propulsion system is attracting some interest in the United States:

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is studying hypersonic vehicles that would use the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), which the English company Reaction Engines Ltd. is working on to power the Skylon space plane, AFRL officials said.

“AFRL is formulating plans to look at advanced vehicle concepts based on Reaction Engine’s heat-exchanger technology and SABRE engine concept,” officials with AFRL, which is based in Ohio, told Space.com via email last month….

The AFRL work is being carried out under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Reaction Engines that was announced in January. AFRL officials told Space.com that they are using computers to model SABRE.

“The Air Force research laboratories in the States have carried out some modeling to verify that the SABRE does actually work, that it is a real engine, and so I am hoping they are going to confirm that very soon,” [Reaction Engines Managing Director Alan] Bond said.

“This is obviously opening doors in the United States, and again, I can’t say a great deal about that, but we have very good dialogue going across the Atlantic,” he added. “In the next couple of years, it’s going to be quite exciting.”

Read the full story.

A Closer Look at the UK’s Commercial Space Review

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Following the release of the document, “UK Government Review of Commercial Spaceplane Certification and Operations: Summary and Conclusions,” almost all media attention focused on one element of the report: the 8 candidate sites for the nation’s first spaceport.

This laser focus is easy to understand. The fierce, tooth-and-nail competition to land some big government project will be fun to watch. And spaceports are super cool. Well, they are when space planes are actually flying to space. When like a decade goes by with people promising imminent spaceflights without a single one taking place, spaceports become a lot less cool.  (I’m looking at you…everybody in Mojave!)

But, I digress. I went through the 80-page document and the 321-page technical report its based on so you don’t have to. Why would I do this? Because you guys are the best! You’re very welcome.

Key excerpts follow with commentary as appropriate. Read away!

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Air Force Research Lab to Evaluate Reaction Engines’ SABRE Engine

Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

LONDON (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (‘CRADA’) with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Aerospace Systems Directorate (AFRL/RQ).

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Reaction Engines Video Interview

Video Caption: The finale of our World Space Week Series. Today is Jeremy Nickless Chairman of UKSEDS talking about Reaction engines, UKSEDS before describing Skylon the spaceplane.

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

Skylon_with_something
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.

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UK Science Minister Promises New Era for British Space

UK_space_agencyDuring the UK Space Conference in Glasgow last week, Science Minister David Willetts outlined the government’s ongoing efforts to expand the nation’s space program.

Actions include a $91 million (£60 million) investment in Reaction Engines’ SABRE propulsion system for the Skylon space plane, increased activities in a variety of commercial and scientific areas, and a long-term plan to capture 10 percent of the global space market by 2030.

Excerpts from his prepared remarks follow that focus on the overall health of the industry, future goals, and the UK’s investment in SABRE and other propulsion technologies. To see what else he discussed, click over to his prepared remarks.

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UKSA Investment in Skylon Came After ESA-Managed Feasibility Test

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Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The UK government has announced plans to invest in the development of an air-breathing rocket engine – intended for a single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane – following the ESA-managed feasibility testing of essential technology.

The £60 million investment, provided through the UK Space Agency, will back technical improvements leading to construction of a prototype Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine, or SABRE.

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UKSA to Invest £60 million in SABRE Engine for Skylon Space Plane

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

LONDON (UKSA) — Through the UK Space Agency, the Government is set to invest £60 million in the development of the SABRE – a British-designed rocket engine which could revolutionise the fields of propulsion and launcher technology, and significantly reduce the costs of accessing space.

SABRE has the potential to create 21,000 high value engineering and manufacturing jobs; maximise the UK’s access to a conservatively estimated £13.8 billion launcher market over the next thirty years; and provide economic benefits from spill-over technology markets.

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