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Varvill R.,Reaction Engines Ltd
Acta Astronautica

The SABRE engine for SKYLON has a sophisticated thermodynamic cycle with heat transfer between the fluid streams. The intake airflow is cooled in an efficient counterflow precooler, consisting of many thousand small bore thin wall tubes. Precooler manufacturing technology has been under investigation at REL for a number of years with the result that flightweight matrix modules can now be produced. A major difficulty with cooling the airflow to sub-zero temperatures at low altitude is the problem of frost formation. Frost control technology has been developed which enables steady state operation. The helium loop requires a top cycle heat exchanger (HX3) to deliver a constant inlet temperature to the main turbine. This is constructed in silicon carbide and the feasibility of manufacturing various matrix geometries has been investigated along with suitable joining techniques. A demonstration precooler will be made to run in front of a Viper jet engine at REL's B9 test facility in 2011. This precooler will incorporate full frost control and be built from full size SABRE engine modules. The facility will incorporate a high pressure helium loop that rejects the absorbed heat to a bath of liquid nitrogen. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Hempsell M.,Reaction Engines Ltd
JBIS - Journal of the British Interplanetary Society

The SKYLON spaceplane is a reusable launch system that can launch large payloads into low earth orbit, but to capture the majority of the launch market, it needs to be the centre of a wider transportation infrastructure capable of meeting real payload mass and location requirements. The paper outlines the complete operational infrastructure needed to do this and oulines this issues related to their introduction. It concentrates on four key complimentary systems that are required for SKYLON to capture the entire launch market. These are an upper stage to reach higher energy orbits, two systems for supporting in-orbit facilities and a carrier to adapt the payload bay for small payloads. These complimentary systems will need to be available for SKYLON's test flight programme to verify all its required functionality and therefore they will need to be developed in parallel with SKYLON. The total acquisition cost of these complimentary elements is estimated at around $4 billion (2009$) which will be in addition to the $13.5 billion to acquire the basic SKYLON system. Source

Reaction Engines Ltd | Date: 2014-06-05

The present disclosure relates to an engine having two modes of operationair breathing and rocketthat may be used in aerospace applications such as in an aircraft, flying machine, or aerospace vehicle. The engines efficiency can be maximized by using a precooler arrangement to cool intake air in air breathing mode using cold fuel used for the rocket mode. By introducing the precooler and certain other engine cycle components, and arranging and operating them as described, problems such as those associated with higher fuel and weight requirements and frost formation can be alleviated.

Reaction Engines Ltd | Date: 2014-06-05

A rotational machine such as a turbocompressor has a fluid recovery system for recovering leaked working fluid such as gaseous helium in a helium circuit which has leaked past a shaft seal, a purifier being provided for removing contaminants from the working fluid, and turbocompressor may have one fluid such as helium or hydrogen working through one turbo component such as a turbine thereof and a second working fluid such as air or helium working through a second turbo component such as a compressor thereof, the rotational machine being installable in an engine of a flying machine.

Reaction Engines Ltd | Date: 2014-06-05

A heat exchanger which may be used in an engine, such as a vehicle engine for an aircraft or orbital launch vehicle. is provided. The heat exchanger may be configured as generally drum-shaped with a multitude of spiral sections, each containing numerous small diameter tubes. The spiral sections may spiral inside one another. The heat exchanger may include a support structure with a plurality of mutually axially spaced hoop supports, and may incorporate an intermediate header. The heat exchanger may incorporate recycling of methanol or other antifreeze used to prevent blocking of the heat exchanger due to frost or ice formation.

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