The visit was part of a wider mission by the PSC to explore and learn about the US space industry and those UK companies which have a US presence, in order to better inform policy making in the UK. The delegation also received a briefing from Colorado Air and Space Port Director Dave Ruppel on the challenges and issues faced in operating a space port, as well as the opportunities and benefits such facilities can bring to the local economy.
Conservative MPs David Morris (Chair), Mark Garner and Andrew Griffith, as well as Stephen Morgan (Labour), Jamie Stone (Liberal Democrat and Carol Monaghan (SNP) were briefed by President of Reaction Engines Inc. Dr Adam Dissel on the recent successful HTX test campaign at TF2. The HTX campaign saw Reaction Engines’ world-leading precooler exposed to air temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius, mimicking the conditions that it would experience during hypersonic flight at more than five times the speed of sound.
The precooler, which was designed and manufactured at Reaction Engines’ facility in Culham, UK, is a vital enabling technology of the SABRE engine. It cools the hot air entering the engine at high speeds to ambient temperatures that can then be passed to a conventional turbocompressor. This enables the SABRE engine to operate at far higher speeds in the atmosphere than existing jet engines.
In air-breathing mode in the upper atmosphere, SABRE has the potential to revolutionise high-speed flight and enable a new class of hypersonic aircraft. In rocket mode, SABRE can greatly reduce the cost of space access over existing systems, while also bringing aircraft-like levels of availability and reliability.