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Want to fly at 2,500mph? BAE Systems does and is willing to pay £20m for it - Telegraph


I know this is not a space forum, but I'm sure there are some space program fans out there of NASA, or the ESA, or heck even the Russian Federation! Reaction Engines Limited is a company I have been watching for years because what they are developing really will revolutionize the world of air travel and travel to low earth orbit for ever if their hybrid air breathing rocket engine is ever built.

Let me slow down here, up until this announcement it was still a long shot but BAE according to this article is putting in 20 million pounds into this project! Before I can get into the technicals let me propose this to you. How does the idea of a three to four hundred passenger capacity airliner sound to you that can cruise at just over five times the speed of sound reliably?

That's the future Reaction Engines is working on; a hybrid air breathing rocket engine with a proprietary precooler that weighs less than 2 tons that cools air from 1000 c to under 1 c in less than fractions of a second! Precooler works, was tested by the European Space Agency. It's basically a precooled jet engine burning hydrogen out of multiple rocket nozzles. There is also a version, pictured in this article that is a dual mode engine that can run closed cycle with onboard oxygen to make it's way to low earth orbit. If this goes through, we may see a space plane in our life time that can take off from a runway, fly to orbit, dock with a space station, and return all in one stage. No external boosters would be required! I know it's not the right forum but I thought some others here would find it neat. The only reason I'm posting this is because BAE is putting down huge bucks into the company to make this engine a reality.
 
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