Pre-cooler tests pave the way for future flight
Posted on 25 Nov 2019 and read 1199 times
Oxfordshire-based Reaction Engines has successfully tested its innovative pre-cooler (designed in Abingdon) at air-flow temperature conditions representing Mach 5 (five-times the speed of sound); this is a significant milestone in the development of its air-breathing Sabre rocket engine.
The test took place at a specially constructed facility at Colorado Air and Space Port.
Reaction Engines chief executive Mark Thomas (www.reactionengines.co.uk
) said: “This is a major moment in the development of a breakthrough aerospace technology, which has seen Reaction Engines’ pre-cooler smash through previous achievements at Mach 3.3 temperatures, paving the way for hypersonic flight.
"In addition to its use in our Sabre class of air-breathing rocket engines, there are numerous exciting commercial applications for our pre-cooler technology, which delivers world-leading heat transfer capabilities at low weight and compact size. We are seeing significant interest from a range of potential customers and technology partners.”
The engine’s pre-cooler successfully quenched air-flow temperatures above 1,000°C in less than 0.05sec. The tests demonstrated the pre-cooler’s ability to successfully cool air-flow at speeds significantly beyond the operational limit of any jet engine in history.
Mach 5 is more than twice as fast as the cruising speed of Concorde and over 50% faster than the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft — the world’s fastest jet-engine-powered aircraft.