Reaction Engines secures more development funding (Photo)
Reaction Engines secures more development funding (Photo)

Reaction Engines secures more development funding (Video)

A HYPERSONIC plane could be a reality in just four years, getting passengers anywhere in the world in just four hours.

The new plane, which will combine the technology of a jet and a rocket to travel five times the speed of sound, will even allow Brits to travel to Australia in four hours.

The first demonstrator engine could be ready by 2020.

The engine which powers it could also one day carry passengers from London to Australia in just over four hours – and drive airliners with twice the speed of Concorde.

The SABRE engine is made by a small UK company, Reaction Engines, which has been perfecting the technology for 20 years – and whose founder believes that it could transform our world into ‘something out of science fiction’.

The engine could also mean that it’s far easier to reach space – with the cost of putting cargo into orbit falling from £15,000 per kilo to £650.

Instead of huge multi-stage rockets, a relatively light plane will take off from a conventional runway – and reach space in a single journey, without a pilot.

A BAE Systems spokesman said, ‘Once the technology is mature – in around 25 years – we aim to develop airliners capable of more than twice the speed of Concorde.

‘The engine can be used for a whole new generation of aircraft, both for high speed flight over long distances and for space.’

The idea isn’t new: a variation on it was first mooted in 1955, and variations on it have been seriously researched several times.

Alan Bond, who formed Reaction Engines in 1989, believes that the engine will work – and could create a world similar to Fifties sci fi comic strips.

In a 2014 interview, he said, ‘If we manage to pull this off, then by the time we get to 2030, access to space will be more like you see in science fiction films than the way it is today.

‘So regular vehicles flying into orbit and back again on a daily basis, and all that sort of stuff, carrying out all sorts of useful tasks. That will actually be with us and that is something pretty exciting to look forward to.’


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