of aeronautical engineers, where flying at many times the speed of sound
[IS] a technically difficult endeavour. Even though supersonic is a realised
dream the cost makes it difficult to be used financially.
Ramjet and Scramjet are engines which utilise their own speed to compress
air and propel the engine. The ramjet engine technology practically applies
in many cases ranging from missiles, supersonic aircraft to artillery rounds,
while the scramjet engines are still highly experimental.
Having said that the UK government has already invested £60 million
in the Reaction Engines engine project, which has been matched by
Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, and Boeing. On Tuesday Britain agreed to work
more closely with Australia in a ‘space bridge’ partnership and Graham
Turnock, the CEO of the UK Space Agency, said that it was appropriate
the two countries were moving closer together just as technology was
speeding up journey times.
On Tuesday Britain agreed to work more closely with Australia in a
‘space bridge’ partnership and Graham Turnock, the CEO of the
UK Space Agency, said that it was appropriate the two countries were
moving closer together just as technology was speeding up journey times.
“I really like the concrete sense of a bridge linking us, and when we
have brought the Sabre rocket engine to fruition, that may in a sense
be the manifestation of that space bridge, enabling us to get to
Australia in perhaps as little as four hours. Once you’ve got
hypersonic engines operating then that kind of journey time is
achievable. This is technology that could definitely deliver that.
We’re talking the 2030s for operational service, and the work is
already very advanced” said Mr Turnock.
Supersonic commercial flight - faster than the speed of sound - has
not been available since Concorde was scrapped in 2003 following
a catastrophic crash in 2000 in which 109 people died.
Will Whitehorn, the incoming President of UK Space, the umbrella group
for the space industry, said the engine was crucial for cutting journey
times and building infrastructure in space. If you can find a way to act
like a jet engine in the atmosphere and a rocket engine in space then
you have cracked one of the big conundrums of space launch.
“Concorde had to use a conventional engine. The point of the reaction
engine it can switch from one that feeds on oxygen in the Earth’s
atmosphere to one that doesn’t require the feeding of oxygen, but that
technology is the technology that would revolutionise space launch.
It would not only allow you to fly around the world hypersonically, and
take people from London to Australia outside the atmosphere and have
far less long term effect on the atmosphere but it will also allow you to
rapidly get much more technology into space.”