Reaction Engines: New Investors Bring “Invaluable Expertise” to SABRE Program

SABRE engine (Credit: Reaction Engines)

ABINGTON, UK, 12 April 2018 (Reaction Engines PR) – Reaction Engines Limited (‘Reaction Engines’) today announced that it has raised a further £26.5 million in a strategic fundraising by securing backing from some of the most influential names in aerospace and finance which will support its development of SABRE™ – a revolutionary new class of aerospace engine combining jet and rocket technologies.

New strategic investors are Boeing HorizonX Ventures, the investment arm of Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defence, space and security systems; and Rolls-Royce, a pre-eminent engineering company focused on world class power and propulsion systems whose experience and capability in building complex engine systems is well known.

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Reaction Engines Receives $37.6 Million Investment

Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

Reaction Engines has received a large investment by Boeing HorizonX and two other companies, CNBC reports.

The U.S. industrial giant joined Rolls-Royce and defense company BAE Systems in a $37.6 million fundraising round for U.K.-based propulsion company Reaction Engines. This is both the second foreign investment and the second space investment for Boeing HorizonX Ventures, which contributed to the $15 million funding round for Australian satellite company Myriota last month.

Reaction Engines’ advanced propulsion “could change the future of air and space travel,” according to Boeing HorizonX vice president Steve Nordlund.

“We expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing’s pursuit of hypersonic flight,” Nordlund said in a statement.

Reaction Engines, which has now raised more than $140 million over the last three years, is developing a hybrid jet and rocket engine. In theory, the company’s SABRE engine will be capable of operating as a jet at take-off and transitioning to a rocket at higher altitudes.

UK Government Awards Launch Feasibility Studies

UK_flagSpace News reports the British government has awarded contracts totaling approximately $2 million to five groups for feasibility studies on launching out of the United Kingdom.

Airbus Safran Launchers, the prime contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and future Ariane 6 rockets, which has said was interested in a small-satellite launcher in addition to commercializing its work on a suborbital space-tourism vehicle.

Deimos Space UK associated with Firefly Space Systems of the United States, developing a vertical-launch rocket.

Lockheed Martin of the United States, proposing a version of its Athena small-satellite vertical-launch vehicle.

Britain’s Orbital Access associated with BAE Systems and Reaction Engines Ltd., proposing to use a modified version of Reaction Engines’ single-stage-to-orbit technology, whose development is being partially funded by the British government.

Virgin Galactic, which is proposing its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle, designed in the United States.

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Reaction Engines Adds to Management Team, Established U.S. Subsidiary

Mark Wood
Mark Wood

ABINGTON, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd., a UK based company developing a new class of aerospace engine, today announces the strengthening of its leadership team with two senior management appointments and the establishment of a US-based subsidiary to lead its engagement with potential US government and industry partners.

The company has appointed Mark Wood to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer & Engineering Director, with responsibility for operational leadership, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the business through integration, collaboration and operational best practices.

Mark Wood joins Reaction Engines from Safran Power UK, where he most recently held the position of Engineering Director, with responsibility for Safran Power Engineering in the UK and for engineering services across the whole Power division. He will report to Mark Thomas, Reaction Engines’ Chief Executive Officer.

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Reaction Engines Signs ESA Contract

Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)

FARNBOROUGH, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd., today announces the signing of a €10m European Space Agency (ESA) contract which will enable the development of a ground based demonstrator of SABRE™, a new class of aerospace engine which is highly scalable with multiple potential applications in hypersonic travel and space access.

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Reaction Engines Appoints BAE’s Chris Allam to Board of Directors

reaction_engines_logoABINGTON, England (Reaction Engines PR) — The Board of Reaction Engines Ltd is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Allam, Engineering Director at BAE Systems, as a Director of the Company. His appointment is part of the strategic investment and working partner relationship BAE Systems has entered into with Reaction Engines and he will co-ordinate BAE Systems’ collaboration on Reaction Engines’ development of its SABRE™ engine.

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EU Provides $77 Million for SABRE Engine R&D

Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (EC PR) — The European Commission has found that a £50 million (around €71 million) grant that the UK authorities intend to provide for designing a SABRE space launcher engine is in line with EU state aid rules.

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Reaction Engines Begins New Round of Rocket Testss

WESTCOTT, England (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd. have begun their latest round of rocket engine testing in Westcott, UK.

The SABRE engine requires a novel design of the rocket engine’s thrust chamber and nozzle to allow operation in both air-breathing and rocket modes, as well as a smooth transition between the two. The Advanced Nozzle project is demonstrating the feasibility of this concept and represents a significant technology development effort towards the SABRE demonstrator engine.

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USAF Research Laboratory Investigates Potential of SABRE Engine

Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

Space.com reports that Reaction Engine’s SABRE propulsion system is attracting some interest in the United States:

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is studying hypersonic vehicles that would use the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), which the English company Reaction Engines Ltd. is working on to power the Skylon space plane, AFRL officials said.

“AFRL is formulating plans to look at advanced vehicle concepts based on Reaction Engine’s heat-exchanger technology and SABRE engine concept,” officials with AFRL, which is based in Ohio, told Space.com via email last month….

The AFRL work is being carried out under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Reaction Engines that was announced in January. AFRL officials told Space.com that they are using computers to model SABRE.

“The Air Force research laboratories in the States have carried out some modeling to verify that the SABRE does actually work, that it is a real engine, and so I am hoping they are going to confirm that very soon,” [Reaction Engines Managing Director Alan] Bond said.

“This is obviously opening doors in the United States, and again, I can’t say a great deal about that, but we have very good dialogue going across the Atlantic,” he added. “In the next couple of years, it’s going to be quite exciting.”

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A Closer Look at the UK’s Commercial Space Review

Earth_from_space_graphic
Following the release of the document, “UK Government Review of Commercial Spaceplane Certification and Operations: Summary and Conclusions,” almost all media attention focused on one element of the report: the 8 candidate sites for the nation’s first spaceport.

This laser focus is easy to understand. The fierce, tooth-and-nail competition to land some big government project will be fun to watch. And spaceports are super cool. Well, they are when space planes are actually flying to space. When like a decade goes by with people promising imminent spaceflights without a single one taking place, spaceports become a lot less cool.  (I’m looking at you…everybody in Mojave!)

But, I digress. I went through the 80-page document and the 321-page technical report its based on so you don’t have to. Why would I do this? Because you guys are the best! You’re very welcome.

Key excerpts follow with commentary as appropriate. Read away!

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UK Identifies 8 Potential Spaceport Locations, Eyes Commercial Flights in 2018

UK spaceport drawing (Credit: UKSA)
UK spaceport drawing (Credit: UKSA)

FARNSBOROUGH, England — The UK’s bid to become Europe’s leading space nation took a giant leap forward today (15 July) as government revealed the 8 locations now under consideration to base Britain’s first spaceport.

Speaking at Farnborough Air Show’s ‘Space Day’, Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill and Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency Dr. David Parker unveiled the findings of a recent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) report highlighting 8 possible airfields that could host a spaceport and the economic opportunities it could open up for the UK.

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Video: Alan Bond Talks Skylon

Video Caption: The Les Sayer Memorial Lecture given by Alan Bond (Aerospace Engineer, Reaction Engines) titled “Skylon: Shaping Tomorrow”

Reaction Engines Video Interview

Video Caption: The finale of our World Space Week Series. Today is Jeremy Nickless Chairman of UKSEDS talking about Reaction engines, UKSEDS before describing Skylon the spaceplane.