Skylon, a 276-foot long unpiloted aircraft that would take off and land horizontally, and cost about $1.1 billion to build powered by sabre engine can fly anywhere on Earth in just 4 hours. The UK will invest £60 million ($91.2 million) into this project to build Skylon aircraft that would fly in outer space and make it possible to take hundreds of passengers anywhere in the world in just four hours.
The investment, announced Wednesday, is being made through the UK Space Agency. It will help British aerospace firm Reaction Engines develop a rocket engine that can run at higher power than what is possible today, based on new technology called The Precooler.
More power means it can fly faster — as fast as Mach 5, chief engineer Alan Bond.
The £60 million will be given to the company in two stages: £35 million in 2014/2015, and £25 million in 2015/2016. It will be used to for technical design work, and improving lightweight heat exchanger technology.
Reaction Engines says the heat exchanger, which rapidly cools hot air entering the engine and passed “vital tests” in November 2012, is the first that is light and efficient enough to be used for space travel.
The project has already passed a UK Space Agency technical assessment, Reaction Engines said in a press release, and test flights are planned for 2020. The company says the next phase of development will create about 1,000 engineering and technology jobs, and 2,000 more jobs “in the wider economy.”
The company eventually hopes to use its cooling technology to build a plane that transports 300 passengers and flies like a rocket. It will “transform high-speed aviation,” Bond says, adding, “we have no competitors. We are unique.”
The company is currently in the process of testing the system. Test flights of the Skylon are planned for 2019.
Mr. Alen Bond Interview