Reaction Engines, based in Oxford shire, has tested a new technology at simulated speeds three times the speed of sound, Mach 3.3.
The new technology, known as ‘Pre-cooler’ allows the aircraft to travel at high speeds without the engine overheating.
Africa Tembelea has learnt that, the pre-cooler lowers the temperature of compressed air rushing through an engine from more than 1,000C to room temperature in one twentieth of a second.
Reaction wants to build a reusable vehicle combing the speed and power of a rocket with the efficiency of a jet engine, capable of traveling at 25 times the speed of sound and into and out of space.
Commenting, Mark Thomas, Chief Executive, Reaction Engines, said:
“This is a hugely significant milestone which has seen Reaction Engines’ proprietary precooler technology achieve unparalleled heat transfer performance. The HTX test article met all test objectives and the successful initial tests highlight how our precooler delivers world-leading heat transfer capabilities at low weight and compact size. This provides an important validation of our heat exchanger and thermal management technology portfolio which has application across emerging areas such as very high-speed flight, hybrid electric aviation and integrated vehicle thermal management.”
The company said Sabre, its prototype, would work like an “air breathing rocket engine” because it would draw oxygen from the atmosphere to be ignited in a rocket combustion chamber alongside stored liquid hydrogen.
Liquid oxygen and hydrogen from on-board fuel tanks would then become the fuel source in order to reach 25 times the speed of sound and make it into space.