About Us

The SABRE Engine

Reaction Engines Ltd ('REL') is a privately held company located in the United Kingdom and was formed in 1989 to develop the technologies needed for an advanced combined cycle air-breathing rocket engine class called SABRE that will enable aircraft to operate easily at speeds of up to five times the speed of sound or fly directly into Earth orbit.

We have achieved a breakthrough in aerospace engine technology by developing ultra-lightweight heat exchangers 100 times lighter than existing technologies that allow the cooling of very hot airstreams from over 1,000 °C to minus 150 °C in less than 1/100th of a second.

Reaction Engines' technology has undergone extensive independent technical assessments, undertaken by the European Space Agency at the request of the UK Government, which have confirmed the viability of the engine technology and its vehicle applications.

"ESA are confident that a ground test of a sub-scale [SABRE] engine can be successfully performed to demonstrate the flight regime and cycle and will be a critical milestone in the development of this program and a major breakthrough in propulsion worldwide."

European Space Agency Report to the UK Space Agency, 2011

This integrated air-breathing and rocket propulsion technology enables the following vehicle applications:

Mach 5 high altitude cruise:

  • Fly anywhere in the world in 4 hours
  • Efficient sub-sonic and hypersonic cruise modes

Low-cost reusable space access:

  • Aircraft-like access to space
  • Operates from runway to orbit and back
  • Order of magnitude reduction in cost vs. existing technology
  • 400 x improved reliability
  • Responsive access to space

Technology:

Two decades of research work has resulted in technological leadership in the areas of:

  • Ultra-lightweight heat exchangers
  • Advanced rocket nozzles
  • Combustion chamber design
  • Contra–rotating turbines
  • Lightweight airframe structures
  • Robust lightweight thermal protection systems
  • Engine and vehicles analysis software tools

Our headquarters, engineering centre, assembly and engine test facilities are located at the Culham Science Centre near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, UK.

Reaction Engines also owns the following subsidiaries:

Brite Precision

Brite Precision is a high precision machining facility dealing in most metals and plastics, and specialises in high precision machining and assemblies of scientific and research equipment.

Brite Precision Website

Crossman Engineering

Crossman Engineering provides specialist sheet metal fabrication and welding services and is ISO 9000/1 certified.

Crossman Engineering Website

 

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