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:
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."