On Monday 27th January, the Reaction Engines team welcomed representatives from DLR, hosted by David Willetts MP and David Parker, CEO of the UK Space Agency. The visit included a tour of Reaction Engines' manufacturing facilities and a live demonstration of the pre-cooler in full cryogenic operation at the test facility in Culham, Oxfordshire.
Tom Scrope was appointed to the position of Finance Director earlier this month. The REL team welcomes him and wishes him the best of success in his new role. More info about Tom is available in the Management section.
Reaction Engines Ltd is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement ('CRADA') with the Air Force Research Laboratory's Aerospace Systems Directorate (AFRL/RQ).
The CRADA provides a framework to assess the performance, applications and development paths for REL's SABRE air-breathing rocket engine, a new class of aerospace engine designed for low cost, responsive space access and high speed atmospheric flight. This CRADA is the first U.S. government formal relationship with Reaction Engines Ltd and will be used to inform U.S. government stakeholders about the SABRE engine's potential for hypersonic vehicle applications.
Alan Bond, Managing Director commented - "The signing of this agreement with AFRL builds on an extraordinary period for Reaction Engines Ltd which has seen the successful demonstration of SABRE's ultra-lightweight high performance heat exchanger technology and a UK Government commitment of £60m ($100m) towards the next phase of development of the SABRE engine."
AFRL/RQ project manager Barry Hellman stated that "This CRADA opens the door for joint development and testing to help AFRL understand the SABRE engine's technical details, and whether it may offer unique performance and vehicle integration advantages when compared to traditional hypersonic vehicle concepts. We look forward to exploring the engine and its lightweight heat exchangers which have the potential to enable hypersonic air-breathing rocket propulsion."
Mark Hempsell, Reaction Engines Ltd Future Programmes Director, has resigned from the Board of Directors in order to pursue a new venture which specialises in the development of space infrastructure. We are grateful that he has agreed to continue his work on the SKYLON project as an external consultant, which will ensure his knowledge and expertise are retained by the project. Roger Longstaff, who has over 30 years experience working on space transportation systems, including HOTOL, the X33 and SKYLON, will assume the position of SKYLON project manager in early 2014.
Reaction Engines Ltd have signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for a €1 million study into the next European Launch System. The "Skylon-based European Launch Service Operator" contract has been finalised by the Launcher Directorate of the European Space Agency in Paris, France and work has started to study how the SKYLON spaceplane can meet Europe's Space access demands in terms of cost, flexibility and responsiveness, from the early 2020's.
Through the UK Space Agency, the Government is set to invest £60 million in the development of the SABRE - a British-designed rocket engine which could revolutionise the fields of propulsion and launcher technology, and significantly reduce the costs of accessing space.
SABRE has the potential to create 21,000 high value engineering and manufacturing jobs; maximise the UK's access to a conservatively estimated £13.8 billion launcher market over the next thirty years; and provide economic benefits from spill-over technology markets.
The fourth ATV, ATV 4, named "Albert Einstein", which was launched today on an Ariane 5 rocket, carries two plaques that commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS). The two plaques will be taken to the International Space Station. It is planned for one to be returned to Earth while it is hoped its twin remains on the ISS permanently. The President of the British Interplanetary Society, Alistair Scott said, "This is a fantastic way of celebrating our 80th year and reminding people of the work we have done since the early 1930s to promote spaceflight and the exploration and use of space. We are so grateful to ESA, the ATV Team and the ISS Astronauts for allowing us to fly them"
Kirsten MacDonell, ESA ATV Cargo Manager who was instrumental in making the arrangements for the flight said, "The BIS has been promoting the study and exploration of astronautics for 80 years; inspiring generations of people from around the world. The 80th Anniversary of the British Interplanetary Society is a special occasion worth celebrating. It is an honour to fly these BIS anniversary plaques on ATV-4."
The plaques are 4 cm diameter disks, 3 mm deep and made of high grade aluminium alloy. Weighing less than 5 g each they are precision machined to depict the Society's 80th Anniversary Logo. They were sponsored by Reaction Engines Limited, and were made in the company's machining division, Brite Precision. Gordon Harrison, Reaction Engines' Production Director responsible for Brite Precision, said, "We are delighted to have made something that is actually flying in space, it shows off the capability of Brite Precision's new state of the art machines."
TechDemoSat-1 whose launch arrangements were announced today by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) will be carrying a plaque commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the founding of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS). The Plaque will be mounted on TechDemoSat-1 and then carried into orbit.
The Plaque was handed over to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) last month in a ceremony conducted by BIS Council Member Gerry Webb, and Luis Gomes of the SSTL TechDemoSat-1 team who are building the satellite.
Gerry Webb is General Director of Commercial Space Technologies Limited who are the brokers for the launch of SSTL TechDemoSat-1 with the Russian Space Agency. Roscosmos. He arranged for the Plaque to be carried with both SSTL and Roscosmos.
The President of the British Interplanetary Society, Alistair Scott said, "This is a fantastic way of celebrating our 80th year and reminding people of the work we have done since the early 1930s to promote spaceflight and the exploration and use of space. We are so grateful to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and the TechDemoSat-1 Team for allowing us to fly with them"
Sir Martin Sweeting, Executive Chairman of SSTL commented "I am delighted that SSTL is able to offer this opportunity to BIS, an organisation which has done so much to promote and foster the UK's interest in space". TechDemoSat-1 is a truly British spacecraft, designed and manufactured here and flying British payloads, so it is a fitting vehicle for this commemorative plaque."
The plaque is identical to the two plaques that will be carried to the International Space Station in April 2013. It is a 4cm diameter disk, 3mm deep and made of high grade aluminium alloy. Weighing less than 5g each it is precision machined to depict the Society's 80th Anniversary Logo. It was sponsored by Reaction Engines Limited, and was made by the company's precision machining division, Brite Precision.