Boeing and Rolls-Royce to develop revolutionary SABRE space jet.

Reaction Engines has just secured major backing for its unique SABRE aerospace engine combining jet and rocket technologies. SABRE, or Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine, is a hypersonic pre-cooled hybrid air-breathing rocket engine.

The engine is being designed to achieve single-stage-to-orbit capability, propelling the proposed Skylon space-plane to low Earth orbit. SABRE is an evolution of Alan Bond’s series of liquid air cycle engine that started in the early-1980s.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures, the investment arm of Boeing and Rolls-Royce have joined BAE Systems, a global defence, aerospace and security company, in backing Reaction Engines.

Mark Thomas, Chief Executive of Reaction Engines told SFcrowsnest, “This is a significant milestone for Reaction Engines and I am delighted to welcome our new strategic and financial shareholders. In addition to providing our largest round of private investment, these new partners bring invaluable expertise in both hypersonics and engine technologies with significant access to target markets. This is not only a vote of confidence in our technology but also underlines belief in our ability to develop a thriving commercial business which will provide strong financial returns for our shareholders.”

Boeing and Rolls-Royce to develop revolutionary SABRE space jet.
Boeing and Rolls-Royce to develop revolutionary SABRE space jet.

Steve Nordlund, Vice President of Boeing HorizonX added, “We continue to connect capabilities around the globe with our investment in Reaction Engines, which is our first in a UK-based company. As Reaction Engines unlocks advanced propulsion that could change the future of air and space travel, we expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing’s pursuit of hypersonic flight.”

Sam Gyimah, UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, said, “These investments are a real vote of confidence in Reaction Engines and its revolutionary SABRE engine, which has benefited from £60m in UK Government support. Boeing and Rolls-Royce will bring world-class expertise to the project ahead of its testing at Westcott, alongside the new National Space Propulsion Facility. “This is an exciting time as the UK’s commercial space industry goes from strength to strength, boosting the economy and creating high-skilled jobs across the country. Through our ambitious Industrial Strategy, we are working with the sector to pursue new opportunities, develop technologies and infrastructure, and enable small satellite launch and sub-orbital flight from UK spaceports for the first time.”

Reaction Engines has recently achieved a number of milestones for the development of SABRE, and is on track for the test of the engine core in 2020. It is currently constructing a new facility in Westcott, Buckinghamshire, UK for SABRE testing.

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