Around the World in a Few Hours at Mach 5
|Courtesy: Reaction Engine Ltd, Oxfordshire, UK|
UK's Sabre Space Plane Engine Tech Flying Forward
Travelling 3 and 5 times the speed of sound, Mach 3 and Mach 5. UK engineers are developing the Sabre, air breathing rocket engine to do just that. Sabre is designed to propel planes around the globe in just a few hours and take space planes into rapid orbit. The unique propulsion system just passed a big milestone.
To work at Mach speeds, the rocket engine has to endure extreme high temperature airflows. Engineers at Reaction Engines LTD in the UK have designed a heat-exchanger to make that happen. At the Colorado Air & Space Port in the US, it just successfully endured a major test. In simulations it handled flying at 3 times + the speed of sound. In less than 1/20 of a second, the heat exchanger handled and "quenched" a 420C onslaught of airflow.
More big tests are upcoming including enduring speeds of Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound. Sabre is a cross between a jet and rocket engine, using the jet at low speed and low altitude. The rocket engine deploys at high speed and high altitude. Big players are investing in this air breathing rocket engine including BAE Systems, Boeing and Rolls-Royce.