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Thread: british rocketplane by 2020?

  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    I've not read up too far on the passenger module to be honest. Anyway, I believe is much further down the line; in other words, we test the thing perhaps for several years with unmanned missions before we trust it with human cargo. That's a sensible approach to my mind at least.
    It is probable that Skylon would be used for unmanned missions at first, since that is what it is designed to do, the SPLM is part of REL's Advanced Studies research.

    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    The engine thrust works out to over ten times that of a 747, and that is apparently in jet, not rocket, mode. That is if the wiki article is accurate. You would think there'd be immense military interest in something like this.
    I suppose military organizations would be interested in such engines, but i am not clear on what it is you are aiming at here.

  2. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrAI View Post
    It is probable that Skylon would be used for unmanned missions at first, since that is what it is designed to do, the SPLM is part of REL's Advanced Studies research.



    I suppose military organizations would be interested in such engines, but i am not clear on what it is you are aiming at here.

    I've read a bit more about the SPLM. No windows, unless they are in the roof, and even then the cargo bay doors have to be open for you to see out. No windows in takeoff and landing, I think I would find that disconcerting !

    The military reference was about funding the development of the engines and other technology. The ability to fly at mach 5+ is surely of interest.

  3. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    I've read a bit more about the SPLM. No windows, unless they are in the roof, and even then the cargo bay doors have to be open for you to see out. No windows in takeoff and landing, I think I would find that disconcerting !
    True, there is no windows in the craft itself, the reason is that the heat caused during the hypersonic flight in the atmosphere would make the windows prohibitively massive, complex and serve little purpose in most missions. So if you want to look outside, you'll have to install cameras and displays instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    The military reference was about funding the development of the engines and other technology. The ability to fly at mach 5+ is surely of interest.
    I suspect that REL have reasons for their choice in who they solicit funding from and how they do it, perhaps getting military funding carries some undesirable limitations?

    I seem to recall that the HOTOL had some such encumberments under the UK Official Secrets Act, its RB545 engine seems to be classified under this... perhaps their experiences from this project may have influenced them.

  4. #184
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    TrAI wrote: I suspect that REL have reasons for their choice in who they solicit funding from and how they do it, perhaps getting military funding carries some undesirable limitations?

    I seem to recall that the HOTOL had some such encumberments under the UK Official Secrets Act, its RB545 engine seems to be classified under this... perhaps their experiences from this project may have influenced them.


    I remember that about the HOTOL engine being classified also. In fact I believe it is why it got cancelled. However, the source of the funding surely has no bearing on whether a technology becomes Classified or not?

  5. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    I remember that about the HOTOL engine being classified also. In fact I believe it is why it got cancelled. However, the source of the funding surely has no bearing on whether a technology becomes Classified or not?
    Governments tend to have a certain proprietary attitude towards potential military technology, and purse strings can also act as a leash. They particularly don't want potential missile tech to go public.
    I'm a cynical optimist. I think the only way out is through, but once we get through it'll be better. Very different, but better. Howard Tayler

    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

    "It is the duty of the writers to seduce me into suspending my disbelief!" Paul Beardsley

    Power, Lord Acton says, corrupts. Not always. What power always does is reveal. Robert A. Caro

  6. #186
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    Well perhaps unsurprisingly it took longer than anticipated but the intercooler testing is underway:

    Key tests for Skylon spaceplane project

    Cross your fingers and think good thoughts (Disclaimer: crossing fingers and thinking good thoughts are not proven to produce desired results. )

  7. #187
    It seems that work has continued on this project - as it has for years now - but that Reaction Engines Limited are still making progress. They still don't have a full working model of the Sabre engine, but they have a working version of one of it's enabling technologies: a special type of pre-cooler heat exchanger.
    "Reaction Engines' breakthrough is a module containing arrays of extremely fine piping that can extract the heat and plunge the intake gases to minus 140C in just 1/100th of a second. Ordinarily, the moisture in the air would be expected to freeze out rapidly, covering the pre-cooler's pipes in a blanket of frost and compromising their operation. But the REL team has also devised a means to stop this happening, permitting Sabre to run in jet mode for as long as is needed before making the transition to a booster rocket."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17864782

    The company is understandably talking things up in a big way, as they are still desperate for further investment. Does this development deal with any of the concerns people had about the viability of this idea in the previous posts?

  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAddis View Post
    It seems that work has continued on this project - as it has for years now - but that Reaction Engines Limited are still making progress. They still don't have a full working model of the Sabre engine, but they have a working version of one of it's enabling technologies: a special type of pre-cooler heat exchanger.
    "Reaction Engines' breakthrough is a module containing arrays of extremely fine piping that can extract the heat and plunge the intake gases to minus 140C in just 1/100th of a second. Ordinarily, the moisture in the air would be expected to freeze out rapidly, covering the pre-cooler's pipes in a blanket of frost and compromising their operation. But the REL team has also devised a means to stop this happening, permitting Sabre to run in jet mode for as long as is needed before making the transition to a booster rocket."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17864782

    The company is understandably talking things up in a big way, as they are still desperate for further investment. Does this development deal with any of the concerns people had about the viability of this idea in the previous posts?
    They are talking things up in a big way because they are on the verge of having absolute proof that they got something that is potentially game changing for not just one, but 2 whole industries. both the launch, and the airliner industries can potentially see some pretty revolutionary changes enabled by this technology.

    I'd say that REL has been decidedly low key about their stuff compared to other companies that have far less to brag about than they do.
    These precoolers do not actually need a high speed test tho. the most difficult part of the technology is to make them work at low altitude and high mass throughput close to the ground where the air moisture is high. That is what the viper test stand was built to prove.

  9. #189
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    Got any anticipated numbers on operating speeds per altitude?

  10. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    Got any anticipated numbers on operating speeds per altitude?
    Why don't you just browse trough their ascent simulation results? available here

    The short answer is that air breathing ascent is going to be from 0 to mach 5+ @ 28 km then the switchover from air to internal lox occurs and it's pure rocket mode the rest of the way to orbit.

  11. #191
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    "Skylon configuration C1 typical Reentry data - from ... " Read " Re-entry " as in return from orbit. Not take off.
    Just curious.

  12. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    "Skylon configuration C1 typical Reentry data - from ... " Read " Re-entry " as in return from orbit. Not take off.
    Just curious.
    There is a lot of data available at the REL site, any which isn't is probably commercially sensitive so no one will have it.

  13. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    "Skylon configuration C1 typical Reentry data - from ... " Read " Re-entry " as in return from orbit. Not take off.
    Just curious.
    Dude... try a bit harder will ya? there are several pages to that spreadsheet. it's unfortunately imposible to directly link to a specific page inside a dokument. otherwise i would have done so.
    for those not familiar with excel type spreadsheets. there are 3 tabs on the lower part of the screen. one of them is titled air breathing ascent. that is the one that has the data on max velocity durign the airbreathing part of the launch. the second one is rocket ascent, with self explanatory content, and the last one is for descent.
    This is sim data from the C1 configuration, and not the still under review D1 config. so these numbers are not final and should only be used as an aproximation.

  14. #194
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    Fair enough. I'll dig some. It would seem though, that there might be some wishfull extrapolation . We will just have to wait untill they actually build a test engine for real.

  15. #195
    What does the Sabre air-breathing rocket engine breath when it gets to space
    Just joking, this looks like a very cool project, I wouldn't be surprised though if an independent company creates something like this before 2020, possibly virgin.

  16. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by lok32 View Post
    What does the Sabre air-breathing rocket engine breath when it gets to space
    Just joking, this looks like a very cool project, I wouldn't be surprised though if an independent company creates something like this before 2020, possibly virgin.
    I find that highly unlikely. Virgin is already invested in the White knight/Spaceship 2 thing.
    One of the EADS subsidiaries are much more likely. like Airbus or Astrium, Or even possibly a new EADS subsidiary. Going by their naming style i guess they would call it Spacebus

  17. #197
    Or maybe this time around Concord, sans e.

  18. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antice View Post
    I find that highly unlikely. Virgin is already invested in the White knight/Spaceship 2 thing.
    One of the EADS subsidiaries are much more likely. like Airbus or Astrium, Or even possibly a new EADS subsidiary. Going by their naming style i guess they would call it Spacebus
    I suspect REL would go the ARM route, licensing the SABRE technology to say Rolls-Royce to do the actual manufacturing and as you say someone like EADS builds the airframe(spaceframe?).

  19. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    I suspect REL would go the ARM route, licensing the SABRE technology to say Rolls-Royce to do the actual manufacturing and as you say someone like EADS builds the airframe(spaceframe?).
    Yeah. I think we are pretty much on the same page here. It's overly likely that the full system is going to be built by a consortium of various EADS subsidiaries and even some parts from independent companies.
    And yes. Skylon uses a spaceframe structure, so that name suits it altho spaceframe refers to the truss structure beneat the aeroshell rather than the outer skin itself. An airframe, mostly refers to monocoque designs. (moostly that is. historically there has been some spaceframe type structures used in the early days of aviation).

    but really. I'm just splitting semantic hairs here because I'm bored

  20. #200
    "I find that highly unlikely. Virgin is already invested in the White knight/Spaceship 2 thing."

    I never knew about the White Knight/Spaceship 2 thing (Is that its technical name ) going to have a read about it though, thanks.

  21. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by lok32 View Post
    "I find that highly unlikely. Virgin is already invested in the White knight/Spaceship 2 thing."

    I never knew about the White Knight/Spaceship 2 thing (Is that its technical name ) going to have a read about it though, thanks.
    There is a thread about Spaceship 2 around on this forum somewhere. but basically it's based on the Ansari X prize winner scaled composites SS1.
    Unfortunately tho. it's suborbital only.

  22. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antice View Post
    There is a thread about Spaceship 2 around on this forum somewhere. but basically it's based on the Ansari X prize winner scaled composites SS1.
    Actually; there's lots of threads.
    Quote Originally Posted by Antice View Post
    Unfortunately tho. it's suborbital only.
    It is, but they already started the next step and we have a thread on that.
    Stratolaunch
    Basically; it's a very heavy version of White Knight 2 for launching an orbital rocket.

  23. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Actually; there's lots of threads.

    It is, but they already started the next step and we have a thread on that.
    Stratolaunch
    Basically; it's a very heavy version of White Knight 2 for launching an orbital rocket.
    Strap a Dreamchaser on that booster and there's SpaceShipThree.

  24. #204
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    On Falcon 9 heavy yes. The capsule is probably lighter than Dreamchaser, so is better for the smaller air drop Falcon rocket.

  25. #205
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    Time to revive this necrotic thread to a semblance of life again. under a new forum name to boot.
    Latest news:
    REL has gotten a new look on their website, also. there is some news of the precooler testing on there.
    Get it here: Linky

    The next stage after this is a full scale engine demonstrator. Woot. Looking very very forward to that.

  26. #206
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    sorry for posting 2 in a row, but this bears being mentioned:
    bbc article

    Regulations are already being looked at in order to make them able to allow the certification of skylon for commercial services... Good to see that the bureaucrat's are trying to plan ahead for a change.

  27. #207
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    Very good news about the intercooler. I understand the people calling for government funding have their hearts in the right place but given the track record I would say REL should stay with private funding as long as possible.

  28. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    Very good news about the intercooler. I understand the people calling for government funding have their hearts in the right place but given the track record I would say REL should stay with private funding as long as possible.
    I Completely agree. I think that for a concept like this that maybe government money got too many strings attached.

  29. #209
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    Well, the govmint might want to see it work before they pay.

  30. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    Well, the govmint might want to see it work before they pay.
    The "govmint" isn't involved in financing skylon, so regardless of wither skylon works or not they ain't paying out.

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