Fancy travelling ‘hypersonically’? Well Westcott Venture Park project aims to make that a reality

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A ‘revolutionary’ new aerospace engine which has just received funding from Boeing and Rolls Royce will be tested at the Westcott Venture Park.

Reaction Engines Limited (REL) announced the new test facility this week – after securing funding from the aerospace giants.

REL is working on a propulsion system that is part 
jet engine, part rocket engine. The company believes it 
will transform the space launch market and usher in hypersonic travel around the Earth.

The company is developing what it calls the Sabre engine, a power plant designed to push a vehicle from a standing start all the way to orbit in a single step.

It would work like a conventional jet engine up to about Mach 5.5 (5.5 times the speed of sound) before then transitioning to a rocket mode for the rest of the ascent.

Although Sabre is usually talked about in the context of an orbiting spaceplane, it could also be fitted to a vehicle that flies at very high speed from point to point on the Earth’s surface. This is an application that clearly interests Boeing, whose investment arm, HorizonX Ventures, is driving the tie-up in what is its first investment in a UK-based company.

Mark Thomas, CEO, Reaction Engines said: “This is another exciting step forward in development of Reaction Engines’ SABRE engine and a visible demonstration of the UK’s commitment to the programme.

“I look forward to seeing this unique facility take shape and commencing our core engine testing, which will be a defining moment for aerospace.”

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