Spaceplane London to New York
A spaceplane that could cut travel time from London to New York in less than 60 minutes has passed initial tests.
11:05 28 May 2019
A hypersonic plane, which could transport you from the UK to Australia in four hours and from London to New York in less than an hour, has passed a crucial testing milestone.
Oxford-based Reaction Engines, which has been working with BAE Systems and the UK and European Space Agencies to make the spaceplane, has tested a pre-cooler technology that would allow the plane to travel faster than ever before. The technology is crucial because heat has always been a limiting factor for the speed of aircrafts.
The pre-cooler helps keep the engine from melting by lowering the temperature of compressed air in the engine from more than 1,000°C to room temperature in one twentieth of a second. Inside the pre-cooler are thousands of ultra thin tubes that contain liquid helium that can cool the air as it rushed past them.
Following successful tests, the technology can now be combined with Sabre, the spaceplane’s experimental engine intended to much lighter than a conventional rocket engine because it carried less fuel oxidant.