I suppose the title says it all… ESA says yes the new SABRE engine technology works. Definitely a step closer to the Skylon spaceplane…. see here.
The next step is to raise £250m for the development in which the company plans to build a full small scale version of the engine. Do I think REL will get this backing? I sure do, if only for one reason… this engine can also be used on the current jets to make not only flights faster, but cheaper.
But here’s an intriguing snippet. The technology they’ve come up with can also be used to raise the efficiency of so-called multistage flash desalination plants by 15 percent. There’ll be a market for this in the Middle East for one thing. But this reminds me of another story where desalination plants and rockets appeared…
In the first year of office John F Kennedy was searching for a bold technology initiative to distract public attention from the Bay of Pigs fiasco, as well as to restore the USA’s science and technology reputation recently tarnished by the Soviet space successes. His science adviser, MIT President Jerome Weisner, suggested desalinisation of sea water as it would have enormous implications for health and demographics around the world. Kennedy responded by saying that Wiesner was a great scientist, but a lousy politician. Kennedy chose instead the Apollo moon mission – an undertaking of great political salience and little scientific substance.
Well, it looks like we’ve come full circle and Weisner did get some of his wish on desalinisation plants fulfilled, even if it was in a extremely round about way!
As you realise I have every faith that REL will achieve their goals, given why the company was set up in the first place, so much so that I’ve put a Skylon in one of my stories – Neptune’s Angel. Enjoy!