First of its kind: ‘Sabre’ Engine travels through air and space
A UK company has invented a new jet-like engine that runs like a jet engine through the atmosphere and a rocket engine in space. The company, Reaction Engines Ltd., said that its new ‘Sabre' engine means the end of old fashioned jet travel and rocket delivery.
Reaction Engines Ltd. recently announced their tests on an engine they are calling the ‘Sabre’ that runs similar to jet engine in the earth’s atmosphere, and then switches to a rocket style propulsion when it reaches near space. This concept engine, which is the first engine of its kind, means that launching materials into space can be done far more efficiently and reaching almost any destinations on earth in 4 hours or less.
The Sabre engine has also won the European Space Agency's (ESA) endorsement, and the ESA was also pleased with the test results conducted by the company. While the new engine concept is a working model, an actual craft for the engine only exists in concept. The small company that created the engine is seeking more donations to develop the concept model they are calling the 'Skylon'.
According to the company’s website, the new engine is able to compress the air before it is injected in the combustion chamber and then cooled with a revolutionary system that they are keeping secret for the time being. The company also said the new engine will have the capability to move a plane at five times the speed of sound and once that speed is reached the outer atmosphere, it would switch to its rocket mode in order to reach orbit. What is interesting about this concept is that it stores its own oxygen directly from the atmosphere and then uses that for its rocket propulsion technology.
Due to the engine's fuel efficiency the company has envisioned its use for land-based needs as well. What makes this latest engine even more fantastic is that it can propel itself form a standing start without any external assistance. The engine and craft together would be the first real spacecraft that could take off, travel through space and then land on its own an unlimited number of times.