SKYLON is an unpiloted, reusable spaceplane intended to provide inexpensive and reliable access to space. Currently in proof-of-concept phase, the vehicle will take approximately 10 years to develop and will be capable of transporting 12 tonnes of cargo into space.
The critical piece of new enabling technology is the pre-cooler and heat exchanger. Those parts are being tested now.
The pre-cooler test programme is progressing well and the technical specifications for the high performance heat exchanger modules are being met in our prototype production facility.
A number of manufacturing obstacles have been encountered, however, and, as a result, the testing of a full pre-cooler heat exchanger is running approximately three months behind our ambitions.
As there was highly successful early progress, the programme remains on track to meet the contractual requirements of the European Space Agency due in April 2012
A Row of Completed Pre-cooler Modules.
As part of the EU-funded LAPCAT project, Reaction Engines is investigating the issue of very high levels of NOx being generated by the A2 when a conventional combustion chamber is used on its Scimitar engine. Testing has commenced on a combustor engine designed to reduce NOx emissions which would directly affect the troposphere.