A UK firm pioneering development on a new engine that combines jet and rocket technology, capable at propelling an airliner to speeds of 2,500 MPH just received a major funding boost that could make this a reality sooner rather than later.
The company is called Reaction Engines and the investor is BAE Systems.
The managing director at BAE, Nigel Whitehead said:
“The potential for this engine is incredible. I feel like we’re in the same position as the people who were the first to consider putting a propeller on an internal combustion engine: we understand that there are amazing possibilities but don’t fully understand what they are, as we just can’t imagine them all.”
Here’s what a ground test would look like according to an artist:
This engine is called the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) and it works by operating like a normal jet engine while in earths atmosphere but when it reaches speed and altitude turns into a conventional rocket engine. This means it burns liquefied oxygen along with its fuel.
Hypersonic air travel and cut-price satellite launches will move a step closer when BAE Systems buys a stake in a UK company developing engines able to power aircraft at 2,500mph and into space.
The FTSE 100 group is set to purchase 20pc of Oxfordshire-basedReaction Engines for £20.6m, in a deal that will see the defence giant’s expertise applied to research on the privately-held company’s engine, which combines jet and rocket technology.
How far away are we from this technology being used by every airline? Let us know what you think in the comments below!