Technology When supersonic is too slow, go hypersonic

22:36  15 april  2018
22:36  15 april  2018 Source:   CNET

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Still in development, the SABRE engine would breathe air at lower altitudes for a top speed of around Mach 5 (generally, hypersonic flight is at least five times the speed of sound), but then switch to a Mach 25 rocket mode when it reaches thinner altitudes at the edge of space.

And since then, no supersonic aircraft has been allowed to fly over land in the U.S. due to the sonic booms they produce. As for hypersonic travel, the last time a plane went hypersonic was in 1967 when Congressman Steve Knight’s father, the late William J. “Pete” Knight, piloted the North

a close up of a device: reaction-engines© Provided by CNET reaction-engines

Since the last flight of the Concorde 15 years ago, plenty of aerospace companies have been trying to keep the dream of faster-than-sound flight alive in one way or another.

One of those firms, UK-based Reaction Engines, got a boost Thursday when Boeing, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems invested £26.5 million (about $37.4 million) in its hybrid aircraft engine that would operate both as a super-fast jet and a space-bound rocket.

a close up of a light: reaction-engines-sabre© Provided by CNET reaction-engines-sabre

Still in development, the SABRE engine would breathe air at lower altitudes for a top speed of around Mach 5 (generally, hypersonic flight is at least five times the speed of sound), but then switch to a Mach 25 rocket mode when it reaches thinner altitudes at the edge of space.

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Set for ground testing by 2020, SABRE (it stands for Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) could be used in several ways, including powering hypersonic passenger airliners and reusable space vehicles and launching satellites into orbit.

In its press release, Boeing's investment arm, HorizonX, didn't state how it might use SABRE, except that it expects "to leverage the revolutionary technology to support Boeing's pursuit of hypersonic flight." Rolls-Royce, which makes conventional subsonic jet engines in addition to cars, was equally cagey, saying it plans "to incorporate this technology into future products."


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