Boeing has invested in Reaction Engines Limited, a UK-based developer of advanced propulsion systems, as part of the company’s $37.3-million Series B funding round alongside Rolls-Royce Plc and BAE Systems. BAE also participated in a 2015 funding round.(Earlier post.)
Reaction Engines’ technology will contribute to the next generation of hypersonic flight and space access vehicles.
Reaction Engines is known for advanced combined cycle air-breathing rocket engine called SABRE (Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine). The SABRE hybrid engine blends jet and rocket technology and is capable of Mach 5 in air-breathing mode and Mach 25 in rocket mode for space flight.
There are three core building blocks to the SABRE engine: the pre-cooler, the engine core and the thrust chamber. Each of these systems can be developed and validated using ground based demonstrations which saves cost and time relative to flight test, a design feature that benefitted the development of the propeller and jet engine,
As part of the SABRE program, Reaction Engines developed an ultra-lightweight heat exchanger that stops engine components from overheating at high speeds, thus improving access to hypersonic flight and space.
Founded by three propulsion engineers in 1989, Reaction Engines produces robust technical designs for advanced heat exchangers, air-breathing engines, and the vehicles they could power. These capabilities may lead to high-speed point-to-point transport that is cost-effective and sustainable.
Boeing HorizonX Ventures participated in this BAE also participated in a 2015 funding round.