SABRE: Demonstration Programme

Joint commercial and government funding was secured in 2008 for a range of SABRE hardware demonstrations designed to elevate SABRE engine 'Technology Readiness Levels' to TRL 4 - 5, i.e. ready for full development.
The Company has already successfully demonstrated a range of technologies for the SABRE engine, however the main focus has been on the successful testing, in the first half of 2012, of a SABRE Pre-cooler to test ultra-lightweight heat exchanger performance in a working environment.

Footage from early testing activities can be seen in this BBC article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17874276.

Precoooler at the test area.

2012 SABRE Pre-cooler Demonstration Facts:

  • Over 50 km of heat exchanger tubing for a weight penalty of less than 50kg
  • Heat exchanger tube wall thickness less than 30 microns (less than the diameter of a human hair)
  • Incoming airstream to be cooled to -150 °C in less than 20 milliseconds (faster than the blink of an eye)
  • No frost formation during low temperature operation

 

The next stage of the SABRE programme includes the construction of a full engine demonstrator.

"ESA are confident that a ground test of a sub-scale 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."

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