Major Investment in Reaction Jet
Heat exchanger may lead to Hypersonic Flight
Sir Frank Whittle formed Power Jets Ltd to build his turbine engine. That technology with many significant enhancements powers most of today’s civil and military jets. Recently, Alan Bond and Richard Varvill and John Scott-Scott created Reaction Engines to “design and develop the technologies needed for a new class of innovative hypersonic propulsion system – the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE).”
Unlike the similar venture in Maryland, with local venture fund support, Reaction has attracted heavy hitters- Boeing HorizonXVentures , BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce to invest in the Series B funding round that raised $37.3 million for the company.
This financial support may have been inspired by Reaction Engines’ announcement that it had developed a heat exchanger that works to prevent overheating of engine components at high speeds as part of its Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine technology program. Further, the company explained:
We have achieved a breakthrough in aerospace engine technology by developing ultra-lightweight heat exchangers. These are capable of cooling airstreams from over 1,000°C to -150°C in less than 1/20th of a second with world leading compactness and low weight. Developed for our high speed SABRE engines, the heat exchangers stop engine components from overheating at high flight speeds, opening up a new era of high speed flight. SABRE class engines will enable aircraft to fly over five times the speed of sound in the atmosphere and allow space launch vehicles to be built that will radically improve the affordability and responsiveness of access to space.
According to Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX, “As Reaction Engines unlocks advanced propulsion that could change the future of air and space travel, we expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing’s pursuit of hypersonic flight.”
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