After a series of successful tests on the Skylon spaceplane's SABRE engine, the UK government has decided to invest another £60 million to continue developing it. The scramjet-based tech could pave the way for cheaper space travel, since it carries little oxygen on board and can maneuver like an airplane before rockets kick it into orbit. Earlier, a key component that chills air from 1,830 to minus 302 degrees Fahrenheit in 1/100th of a second passed its trials with flying colors. That means the project team can move to the next phase: building and ground testing a prototype SABRE engine. Though billions of pounds more would be needed to eventually develop a Skylon vehicle, a European Space Agency spokesman thinks it would be worth it, saying "we have something here that is really unique." Let's hope they can match recent scramjet success stateside and avoid the whole crashing part.
Filed under: Science, Alt