“Space plane” from London to Sydney in under four hours
Engineers in the UK have successfully tested an important part of an engine that could soon power flights in “space planes” that will travel between London and Sydney in less than four hours. They say it is the biggest breakthrough in aerospace propulsion since the invention of the jet engine. The next step for Reaction Engines is to build a rocket plane, called Lapcat, which would take off from an ordinary runway, fly to the upper atmosphere and reach speeds of more than 30,000kmph.
The “Sabre” engine would combine hydrogen fuel with super-cooled oxygen from the surrounding air. The test – validated by the European Space Agency – shows that oxygen can be pre-cooled from 1000 degrees Celsius to minus 150 in a hundredth of a second.
[image courtesy Reaction Engines]