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Thread: Skylon/SABRE air/rocket hybrid (BAE, Boeing, LockMart)

  1. #1
    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Default Skylon/SABRE air/rocket hybrid (BAE, Boeing, LockMart)

    Reaction Engines Ltd. is, with some European Space Agency funding (recently 1 million Euros, 6 million so far), developing the SABRE air-breathing/liquid oxygen (LOX) rocket hybrid. They've been working on it for quite some time, and it looks like they've made enough progress to be 'noticed' by the aerospace community. For that investment RE now has working key subsections of the SABRE - the air pre-cooler and the turbo-compressor that condenses it to LOX.

    Basically, this is a good candidate to power a single stage to orbit spacecraft (SSTO) that would roll out on a conventional runway, fly to Mach 5.5 at 25km altitude gathering and liquefying atmospheric oxygen as it flies. At the listed altitude/speed it would then switch to the stowed LOX and continue as a liquid fuel rocket to orbit or to a suborbital track for transcontinental flights.

    Link.....





    The Sabre Engine

    A Hybrid Airbreathing / Rocket Engine, Sabre Represents a Huge Advance over LACE Technology.


    In the past, attempts to design single stage to orbit rockets have been unsuccessful largely due to the weight of oxidiser such as liquid oxygen. To reduce the quantity of oxidiser that a vehicle is required to carry it is (one possible solution) useful to be able to use atmospheric oxygen in the combustion process. The Sabre engine does this, allowing two mode operation - both airbreathing and conventional rocket type operation. This is made possible through a synthesis of elements from rocket and gas turbine technology.

    The design of Sabre evolved from liquid-air cycle engines (LACE) which have a single rocket combustion chamber with associated pumps, preburner and nozzle which are utilised in both modes. LACE engines employ the cooling capacity of the cryogenic liquid hydrogen fuel to liquefy incoming air prior to pumping. Unfortunately, this type of cycle necessitates very high fuel flow.

    These faults are avoided in the Sabre engine, which only cools down the air to the vapour boundary and avoids liquefaction. This allows the use of a relatively conventional turbocompressor and avoids the requirement for an air condenser.

    The Sabre engine is essentially a closed cycle rocket engine with an additional precooled turbo-compressor to provide a high pressure air supply to the combustion chamber. This allows operation from zero forward speed on the runway and up to Mach 5.5 in air breathing mode during ascent. As the air density falls with altitude the engine eventually switches to a pure rocket propelling Skylon to orbital velocity (around Mach 25).

    Air collection is via a simple conical two shock inlet with a translating centrebody to maintain shock-on-lip conditions. The centrebody moves forward to close the inlet for re-entry. A bypass system is used to match the variable captured air flow to the engine demand. This bypass flow is reheated in order to recover the momentum lost through the capture shock system.

    The thrust during airbreathing ascent is variable but around 200 tonnes. During rocket ascent this rises to 300 tonnes but is then throttled down towards the end of the ascent to limit the longitudinal acceleration to 3.0g.
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 7th April 2009 at 19:25.
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  2. #2
    Super MURCer Evildead666's Avatar
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    looks super sweet, but is it supposed to be curved like that ?
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    Super MURCer Fat Tone's Avatar
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    No, it's just down to manufacturing tolerances
    FT.

  4. #4
    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    The SABRE's rockets are not gimballed which would otherwise allow them to be steered like in other rockets. My guess is that curving them down a bit gives a slight upwards thrust to aid rate of climb.

    An alternative with more control would be thrust vectoring as done in many Russian 4th and the US's 5th generation fighters, but that's a whole other project in itself, adds weight and is probably best saved for an upgrade after the SABRE is flying.
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 8th April 2009 at 19:24.
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    UK-ESA tech report - and they plan on a mission module that could carry 30-40 passengers.

    Passenger module (PDF)...

    Report...

    http://www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency/...ence-in-skylon

    Confidence in SKYLON

    The UK Space Agency’s SKYLON technical assessment which was produced by the European Space Agency (ESA) has concluded that there are no significant barriers that would prevent successful continued development of the SKYLON Spaceplane.
    >
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 25th May 2011 at 01:01.
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    Latest tech progress report on the SABRE engine and Skylon spaceplane. More companies & ESA involved, airframe design etc.

    Link....(PDF)

    Also, a possible lunar infrastructure that Skylon could haul to prbit.

    Link....(PDF)
    Dr. Mordrid
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  7. #7
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    New Flight Global article on Skylon highlighting new materials they're using and its aerodynamics.

    Also: the team has expanded from just a few core researchers to around 300+.

    Flight Global....

    Skylon space plane places huge demands on exotic structural materials

    Engine technology may be key to realising the Skylon space plane, but its airframe is also critical, and possibly just as ambitious. The 87m (285ft) long design, with 25m wingspan, calls for fuselage and wing load bearing structures made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic with an external shell of a fibre-reinforced ceramic that carries only aerodynamic pressure loads transmitted to the fuselage structure through flexible suspension points.

    The shell, only 0.5mm thick and corrugated for stiffness, is free to move under thermal expansion, especially during the latter stages of the aerodynamic ascent and re-entry. Revolutionary materials and structures include silicon carbide reinforced glass ceramics and silicon carbide reinforced titanium struts.

    Reaction Engines' lead designers, Alan Bond and Richard Varvill, note with pride that their Skylon design has now had its re-entry aerothermodynamics modelled and tested using computational fluid dynamics by DLR, the German space agency. The modelling, they claim, proves the craft can re-enter, though it may need cooling along the hotter parts of its angular design.

    So different is the Skylon shape compared to its blunter predecessors - NASA's Space Shuttle and the Soviet Buran - that Bond goes so far as to claim the DLR re-entry studies "have shown the hypersonic aerodynamics textbooks need to be rewritten".
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 29th December 2011 at 17:54.
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  9. #9
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    New website & video

    Heat exchanger cooling rate: 400 megawatts

    http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/

    http://vimeo.com/45136248
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  10. #10
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    Reaction Engines precooldr tests have gone well and the company has received more funding, rumors are £200 million, and it appears ready to scale up operations to a much higher level. Thesr kinds of people are what you'd hire to put together production and cut metal.

    Senior Engineers....

    Contracts manager....

    Program manager....

    Design engineers....
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    A full dual-cycle (air breathing / vacuum) rocket engine on the test stand in ~2017.

    The Skylon vehicle will be very similar to the space plane in the film 2001.

    BBC article on UK funding: http://bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23332592

    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/hy...e-full-engine/

    Reaction Engines expands research project to build full-sized air-breathing engine

    The UK firm whose pre-cooler heat exchanger technology for an air breathing rocket engine was recently proven in tests to be able cool air from above 1,000 decrees Celcius to less than-120 degrees Celcius in steady state conditions, has decided to go all the way and make a full scale version of its Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE).

    The decision represents an expansion of the £240 million project to build the key elements for such an engine to which the UK government is funding £60 million via ESA. The expanded £360 million new project will now build a complete engine which it hopes to one day employ in its for its Skylon space plane design.

    At the 80th anniversary celebration of the British Interplanetary Society, held in its founding city of Liverpool in October, Reaction Engines’ Managing Director and the firm’s chief engine designer, Alan Bond, noted that the new project would produce a complete engine even though it has not yet been decided whether it would be of the newer SABRE 4 iteration or the earlier SABRE 3 version. With a Specific Impulse (Isp) of 2500 seconds at lift off and at 1,600 seconds at Mach 5, the liquid hydrogen/air burning engine would be between three and five times as propulsively efficient as a conventional rocket engine before it transitioned to that mode using liquid oxgyen as an oxidiser. Bond further declined to note the key technical differences between the two engine versions. Bond remained confident about raising the funding for the project even at its new higher level.

    Bond also noted the work that the European aerospace firm Thales Alenia Space is doing in defining a transfer stage design to carry satellites from Skylon’s low Earth orbit to Geostationary Earth Orbit using a ’7 to 1 resonance’ transfer orbit rendezvous technique. That is, the location of the perigee of the transfer stage’s orbit matches with the orbital location of Skylon every seven of Skylon’s orbits.
    >
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    Boeing is talking about using SABRE in hypersonic vehicles, and Lockheed Martin is also involved.

    The new engine design uses a single large thruster vs 4 smaller ones.

    High temperature precooler tests this year, with testing in Colorado and the UK. Flight test in a testbed vehicle 2020-2021-ish.

    BAE Systems ✔ @BAESystemsplc
    Were proud to continue working closely with @ReactionEngines to support it achieving its vision #futureflight #Engineering #STEM #Graduates #Hypersonics https://twitter.com/ReactionEngines/...25592165187585
    3:03 AM - Apr 12, 2018

    Reaction Engines Ltd @ReactionEngines
    Delighted to announce strategic fundraising from some of the most influential names in aerospace and finance in support of the development of SABRE https://bit.ly/2v7csa3 #futureflight
    3:01 AM - Apr 12, 2018

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