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Author Topic: New British Spaceplane called Skylon  (Read 2550 times)

eureka

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New British Spaceplane called Skylon
« on: February 16, 2012, 01:26:27 PM »

BRITISH boffins hope to lead the space race after inventing a revolutionary spaceplane.

Unlike NASA's Shuttle, Skylon can take off from an airport runway, fly into orbit then land again and even carry tourists.

Spaceplane ... can take tourists into orbit
Spaceplane ... can take tourists into orbit

The new UK Space Agency is looking into developing it commercially.

The 270ft-long craft can be turned round for a new flight in hours and will slash the cost of space travel.

Skylon has no external rocket tanks and works thanks to an engine discovery on a par with Frank Whittle's jet.

Two engines mix hydrogen with oxygen sucked from the atmosphere to fire it 18 miles up at over five times the speed of sound.

The engines then use oxygen from tanks to accelerate the ship into outer space.

Skylon could replace the Shuttle to carry cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station.

It could even be used as a launch vehicle for a manned mission to Mars.

Oxfordshire-based maker Reaction Engines estimates there will be global demand for up to 90 of the pilotless Skylons, for around 700million each.

Creating a spaceplane is a challenge that defeated NASA. Developing Skylon is estimated to cost 7.5billion the same as an Airbus jet.

But a launch into space will be 6.5million, compared to 97million for a rocket.

It will take up to 24 passengers and is tipped to be flying by 2020. Creator Alan Bond said: "No other technology we know of is nearly as good."

Breakthrough ... Skylon design will make space travel cheaper
Breakthrough ... Skylon design will make space travel cheaper
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 01:44:33 PM by eureka »
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