January 29, 2013

Reaction Engines Targets Skylon Space Plane test flights for 2019 and Cargo Flights to Space by 2022

Culham Science Centre’s Reaction Engines Ltd has carried out successful tests on a revolutionary rocket engine for its Skylon vehicle. The space plane will be able to reach speeds of more than 19,000 miles an hour – which would cut the journey time from London to Australia to just four hours.

Reaction Engines hopes to run cargo flights to space stations by 2022 and says the craft – which will take off and land from conventional runways – could later be adapted to take tourists towards the stars.

SKYLON will provide aircraft-like access to space to enable:

* Operation from runway to orbit and back
* Order of magnitude reduction in cost vs. existing technology
* 400 x improved reliability
* Responsive access to space

Engine tests will continue for three years, with the first test flights scheduled for 2019.

He said: “Initially Skylon will be a cargo vehicle, but within a few years it could be carrying people.”

About £10m has been spent designing the craft and £100m more will be spent in the next five years. Each of the 270ft Skylons would cost £700m.

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