A new jet plane is in the works that can take you anywhere in the world in just four hours. New York to Hong Kong, Sydney to London, Denver to Dubai – all in just four hours. How?
The new system, called SABRE, features traditional jet engines that also double as a rocket engine. Used as a passenger plane, it could take 300 passengers around the world at Mach 5, or 5 times the speed of sound, “pretty easily,” according to chief engineer Alan Bond. The company is also working on the spaceplane, “SKYLON.” that would propel a commercial plane into orbit at 25 times the speed of sound.
Bond explains in the video below that the only unique thing about the engine is the precooler device installed in it. The SABRE engine will breathe atmospheric air, capturing 1,250 tons of air, and then use it in the engine. The air is cooled to more than -237 F, or -150 C, in .1 seconds.
The air breathing ability means that 250 tons of oxygen can be captured by the engines and used in the combustion process, reducing how much oxygen the propellant tanks will be required to carry. This helps overcome weight issues that these kinds of crafts have encountered in the past.
If successful, SABRE can revolutionize how people travel. It’d reduce flight times and offer a cost-effective way to put yourself into space. Pretty cool. Let’s hope they can figure it out.