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Cutting edge Sabre passes crucial heat exchanger test

28 November 2012

The combined cycle, air-breathing rocket engine - Sabre - is reported to have passed another major test, as UK developer, Reaction Engines confirms successful pre-cooler trials.

The Sabre engine (image courtesy of Reaction Engines Ltd)
The Sabre engine (image courtesy of Reaction Engines Ltd)

Another milestone has been passed for Oxfordshire based Reactions Engines' innovative Sabre propulsion unit, an advanced combined cycle air-breathing rocket engine that could enable aircraft to operate at speeds of up to Mach 5 or fly directly into Earth orbit.

Independently audited tests of the all-important pre-cooler heat exchanger have proved successful, allowing the project to move on to the next stage of development.

Philippa Oldham, head of transport and manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, welcomed the news:

“Keeping the engine from overheating has been one of the biggest obstacles to developing the Sabre engine....this new heat exchanger is able to control the engine temperature, which will have a great impact on UK aerospace engine industry," she said.

"This technology has the potential to be used with current aeroplanes, which could improve fuel efficiency by up to 10%, saving airlines about $20 billion a year....[it] also brings us a step closer to flights from London to Sydney that last just a little longer than an on-flight film or even two-week holidays in space.

“The fact that this technology is being developed in the UK is also hugely encouraging and demonstrates the talent and expertise there is in this country for manufacturing high value and high-tech goods.”

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