UK Space Agency & ESA propose Hypersonic Test Bed

19th Sep 2020
UK Space Agency & ESA propose Hypersonic Test Bed

A new study by the UK Space Agency and ESA suggests that we should develop a Hypersonic Test Bed (HTB) so as to have a revolutionary impact on reusable spacecraft for horizontal launches.

Aside from the UK Space Agency & ESA, plenty of science and research organizations, including Cranfield University, Frost & Sullivan, and Reaction Engines, take part in this experiment. Reaction Engines is particularly excited to work on HTB to demonstrate their new SABRE technology. 

UK Space Agency study & its role

The study intimated by the UK Space Agency and led by ESA has two major purposes. First, it should develop flying concepts for a new vehicle, ensuring the SABRE tech demonstration. Second, it should come up with more ideas on implementing SABRE technology into the future transport industry. 

SABRE development by Reaction Engines offers an absolutely innovative approach to horizontal launches. Its main goal is to ensure the payload return. Consequently, making vehicles reusable should make launches more affordable. Simultaneously, spacecraft should become more responsive and reliable. While vertical launches still remain expendable (with the exception of SpaceX) and costly, horizontal ones will make payload delivery way more accessible. That is why the UK Space Agency is so enthusiastic about this tech.

Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, under Cranfield University supervision, is responsible for the design, modification, and further development of this revolutionary tech. They are working on new prototypes, while also assessing environmental impact from such launches.

SABRE engines will fly at supersonic speed, which will revolutionize not only space travel but also transportation on Earth. According to Chris Castelli, UK Space Agency Programmes Director, this is the technology of the future, while the latest joint study brings this future a step closer to us. 

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