LONDON, 13 Jan 2014: Reaction Engines Ltd is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement ('CRADA') with the Air Force Research Laboratory's Aerospace Systems Directorate (AFRL/RQ).
The CRADA provides a framework to assess the performance, applications and development paths for REL's SABRE air-breathing rocket engine, a new class of aerospace engine designed for low cost, responsive space access and high speed atmospheric flight. This CRADA is the first U.S. government formal relationship with Reaction Engines Ltd and will be used to inform U.S. government stakeholders about the SABRE engine's potential for hypersonic vehicle applications.
Alan Bond, Managing Director commented - "The signing of this agreement with AFRL builds on an extraordinary period for Reaction Engines Ltd which has seen the successful demonstration of SABRE's ultra-lightweight high performance heat exchanger technology and a UK Government commitment of £60m ($100m) towards the next phase of development of the SABRE engine."
AFRL/RQ project manager Barry Hellman stated that "This CRADA opens the door for joint development and testing to help AFRL understand the SABRE engine's technical details, and whether it may offer unique performance and vehicle integration advantages when compared to traditional hypersonic vehicle concepts. We look forward to exploring the engine and its lightweight heat exchangers which have the potential to enable hypersonic air-breathing rocket propulsion."
Alan Bond of Reaction Engines has announced that the upcoming development phase of the SKYLON SSTO spaceplane will be expanded from £240 million to £360 million, and will now include the construction of a full-scale working version of the Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE). The programme is funded to £60 million by the UK government, with the remainder intended to come from commercial backers.
Reaction Engines is also working with Thales Alenia Space on the design of a reusable geostationary transfer stage.