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SKYLON Spaceplane: Mission Animation

Very cool!

I suggest you skip to the 2:00 mark...
SKYLON is the successor to Britain's HOTOL spaceplane concept, being developed by Reaction Engines Ltd (REL). It is an unpiloted fully reusable aircraft-like vehicle capable of transporting 12 tonnes of cargo into space and is intended as a replacement for expensive expendable launchers in the commerical market.

Reaction Engines has announced that is has successfully tested the key pre-cooler component of its revolutionary SABRE engine crucial to the development of its SKYLON spaceplane. The company claims that craft equipped with SABRE engines will be able to fly to any destination on Earth in under 4 hours, or travel directly into space.

The SABRE engine is capable of operating either as a jet or a rocket, powering aircraft, Reaction Engines claims, at five times the speed of sound within Earth atmosphere, or at 25 times the speed of sound flying directly into orbit. The key to this level of performance is the engine's pre-cooler, which Reaction Engines claims will chill air from over 1000º C (1832º F) to -150º C (-238º F) in under 1/100th of a second.

The pre-cooler technology was the subject of the latest tests, and Reaction Engines claims its prototype, which is already down to flight-weight, demonstrates the necessary structural integrity, aerodynamic stability and lack of vibration necessary. Though the engine's pre-cooling tests are described as preliminary, further tests commencing in August will push this component to the performance ultimately required.

It has taken a team of more than 30 engineers 22 years to get the SABRE engine where it is today.

Added: Jul-16-2012 
By: 32oz
Science and Technology
Tags: SKYLON, space plane, space craft, space ship, space
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