Alan Bond

Alan Bond began his career working on rocket engines in 1982, with the hope of overcoming the disadvantages of existing expendable space launch vehicles. Within this work, Alan realised that burning air in the combustion chambers while flying in the atmosphere instead of carrying on-board liquid oxygen could potentially save a great deal of the vehicle’s weight. He soon discovered that the best means of achieving this was by using heat exchangers to extract heat from the incoming air flow at high speeds, and using that heat energy to power a turbocompressor. This would allow a rocket to inject air into its combustion chambers efficiently from a standing start, up to Mach 5.5 (4,200mph). In order to fly out of the Earth’s atmosphere and into orbit, the engine would need to be capable of operating with both air and liquid oxygen at different points in its ascent; this is how the RB545 engine concept was born.