Reaction Engines Skylon talk, RAF Cosford Nov 2011
Rocketeer — Wed, 09/11/2011 - 10:02am
Photos from the Skylon status update given by Alan Bond of Reaction Engines at the BIS Propulsion meeting held at RAF Cosford last weekend.
Apologies for the poor quality, but I'd drained the battery on my decent camera the previous day and didn't have the charger with me, so I had to resort to using my phone ;p
Some brief notes:-
* Bond described the current structure of the Reaction Engines group, including its manufacturing subsidiaries
* He discussed the complexities involved in manufacturing the very fine tubes required for the pre coolers, and assembling them into the finished modules. The tubes are checked by automated electromagnetic sensors, with any anomalies passed to human inspectors.
* The thermodynamic cycle of the SABRE-3 engine was outlined.
* He showed preliminary photos and videos from the STRICT altitude-compensating nozzle test firings undertaken by Airborne Engineering at Westcott. The use of altitude compensation would cut the typical Skylon takeoff run by 600m.
* Low-NOx combustor development work for the EU-funded LAPCAT programme was described.
* Cryogen plumbing is in place in the B9 test area at Culham in preparation for precooler flow tests
* Bond described objectives of the Phase 3 development programme.
- raise SABRE engine technology to TRL 6 through ground testing
- complete the design of the SABRE 4 to manufacturing drawings
- ensure that the vehicle requirements and SABRE 4 engine design are compatible
- Flight test the nacelle design
It is likely that Phase 3 will grow from the specified 30 months to at least 39 months.
* First images of the proposed Nacelle Test Vehicle were shown. The NTVs are 'one-shot' expendable flight test vehicles, propelled by LOX-methane biprops, and intended for aerodynamic verification of the nacelle geometry. The NTVs appear as 'scaled-down' Skylons, and are 9m long, with a 3.5m wingspan, massing approx 1 tonne each.
* Tests with LOX film cooling of combustion chambers was conducted in conjunction with DLR at Lampoldhausen. The results were very promising.
* Other development work includes: CFD modelling of re-entry heating by DLR. Bond noted that modelled heating levels were remarkably low.