Reaction Engines Test Facility 1 (TF1)
At Westcott, Reaction Engines is contstructing a new engine test facility and plans to undertake the first ground-based demonstration of its SABRE™ air-breathing rocket engine.
Reaction Engine’s new test facility at Westcott will enable testing of critical subsystems and their SABRE engine core, scheduled to commence in 2020.
The project represents a substantial investment for Reaction Engines, which will consist of a multi-purpose propulsion test stand designed to accommodate various test engine configurations, an assembly building, workshops, offices and control room. The location of workshops and other support facilities alongside the test stand will enable configuration changes to the engine to take place at the site, reducing the down time between testing phases and accelerating the development programme of the SABRE engine.
About Reaction Engines:
Reaction Engines Limited (‘Reaction Engines’) is a privately held, growing, company based in Culham, Oxfordshire, UK. It employs over 150 people, many of whom are aerospace engineers and apprentices. It was founded in 1989 to develop the technologies needed for an advanced combined cycle air-breathing rocket engine class called SABRE™ (Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) which is a leading contender for the next generation of hypersonic flight and space access vehicles.
SABRE is an innovative new class of aerospace propulsion that has the potential to provide efficient air-breathing thrust from standstill on the runway to speeds above five times the speed of sound in the atmosphere. A SABRE engine can then transition to a rocket mode of operation, allowing spaceflight at up to orbital velocity, equivalent to twenty five times the speed of sound. Through its ability to ‘breathe’ air from the atmosphere, SABRE offers a significant reduction in propellant consumption and weight compared to conventional rocket engines which have to carry their own oxygen.
There are three main building blocks to the SABRE engine – the precooler heat exchanger; engine core and thrust chamber. Each of these systems can be developed and validated using ground based demonstrations which saves cost and time relative to flight test. Reaction Engines plans to demonstrate each of these independently, with a high temperature test of the precooler during 2018, building on previously successful technology demonstrations.
Reaction Engines’ novel heat exchanger technology, which offers the potential for compact, lightweight and high performance thermal management solutions, has application across numerous sectors; these are actively being explored by the Company.