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This Hypersonic ‘Space Plane’ Can Get From New York to London in One Hour

Goldhedge

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This Hypersonic ‘Space Plane’ Can Get From New York to London in One Hour
It can soar at 4,000 mph—or five times the speed of sound.
BY RACHEL CORMACK ON SEPTEMBER 27, 2019


Courtesy of Reaction Engines

For most New Yorkers, getting to the Hamptons in less than three hours is a commendable feat, but what if you could get all the way to London in just a third of the time? The UK Space Agency recently revealed plans for a high-tech “space plane” that is capable of jetting across the pond at lightning speed—and it could be in the skies as soon as 2030.

On Tuesday, the CEO of the UK Space Agency Graham Turnock announced the UK would be working more closely with Australia in a “world-first Space Bridge” agreement which will focus on delivering a plane—or rocket, really—to shuttle passengers from continent-to-continent in just four hours. While flights from London to the Big Apple will reportedly take a skerrick over 60 minutes.

It’s all courtesy of a new hypersonic engine SABRE (Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine)—which the scientists at Reaction Engines are currently developing. Fueled by a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, SABRE is capable of powering a plane to Mach 5.4 (4,000 mph) for speedy commercial travel—that’s around five times the speed of sound—or Mach 25 (19,000 mph) when soaring in space. It’s supposedly greener and cheaper than current air travel, too.


SABRE Hypersonic Space Plane Courtesy of Reaction Engines

One of the challenges of hypersonic flight is ensuring the engine can withstand the heat—traveling that quickly can cause the engine itself to melt—but SABRE chills the incoming air with tiny tubes of super-cooled helium, and then utilizes that captured heat to power the engine.

“Our pre-cooler takes air that arrives at 1,000 degrees centigrade and cools it down to zero in one-twentieth of a second,” Shaun Driscoll, of Reaction Engines, said.


SABRE Engine Courtesy of Reaction Engines

That’s not just talk, either. Back in April, the Oxfordshire-based firm announced successful tests of a precooler, simulating conditions at Mach 3.3—that’s 50 percent faster than the supersonic turbojet Concorde, which trekked between New York and Paris in 3.5 hours, but was terminated in 2003 following a catastrophic crash in which 109 people died. It’s also on par with the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet aircraft ever made.

Reaction Engines will continue trialing parts, with test flights scheduled to begin in mid-2020 and commercial flights slated for the 2030s. The government has already invested £60 million (around $74 million at current exchange) into SABRE, which has been matched by Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and Boeing.
 

Buck

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Fueled by a combination of hydrogen and oxygen,
where have i read this before?

what product carries both of these elements in a single, easy to store form, is not commercially produced anywhere on the planet nor the universe and is unique in it's many forms and purity on this planet alone?

We're composed of about 85% or so, body weight of this product alone and yet it's so 'invaluable' as to use it for rocket fuel...

I'm no Greta, but
We're worried about who runs the place???
 

dacrunch

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Riding on the winds of Storm Ciara, 2 days ago a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (yeah, in production since the 1970's & still one of my favorite planes) just broke the (non-supersonic) record on a Brittish Airways passenger flight from NY to London in under 5 hours...
 

chieftain

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Another technology that won't see the light of day.
 

Joe King

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cheaper than current air travel, too.
Even if it ever becomes reality, let alone by 2030, does anyone really think it"ll be cheaper than current air travel?
 

Buck

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no
 

Goldhedge

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the old adage: Time is money will always rule the day. Just like the SST cost $3000+ to fly NY to UK... this is no different.
 

Cigarlover

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For it's maiden flight I would like to sponsor all members of Congress to fly on it. Hopefully in space they lose control and head straight for the sun.