Hypersonic 'spaceplane' that could fly London to New York in less than an hour has breakthrough
The company based in Oxfordshire is one step closer to achieving hypersonic flight
British engineers are one step closer to building a hypersonic 'spaceplane' that could travel between London and New York in less than an hour.
Oxfordshire's Reaction Engines tested a new technology at simulated speeds three times the speed of sound, Mach 3.3.
'Pre-cooler' means a vehicle can travel at high speeds without the engine overheating.
The Times reports pre-cooler lowers the temperature of compressed air rushing through an engine from more than 1,000C to room temperature in one twentieth of a second.
Reaction wants to build a reusable vehicle combing the speed and power of a rocket with the efficiency of a jet engine, capable of traveling at 25 times the speed of sound and into and out of space.
The company said Sabre, its prototype, would work like an "air breathing rocket engine" because it would draw oxygen from the atmosphere to be ignited in a rocket combustion chamber alongside stored liquid hydrogen.
Liquid oxygen and hydrogen from on-board fuel tanks would then become the fuel source in order to reach 25 times the speed of sound and make it into space.
Mark Thomas, the Reaction Engines CEO, said: "If you can pull it off, it’s a game changer. It kicks conventional rocket engines into touch."