SKYLON Spaceplane inches closer to orbit thanks to 3D printed injector

As previously reported on 3D Printing Industry, the Reaction Engines Ltd. SKYLON Spaceplane is an innovative new aircraft designed in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). The SKYLON houses one exciting feature on its aircraft: a SABRE rocket engine with a 3D printed injector. After multiple tests and long duration burns, the exciting engines have proven capability of smoothly transitioning from air-breathing mode (in which the engine acts as a typical jet engine, taking in atmospheric air as a source of oxygen to burn with fuel in the rocket combustion chamber) to rocket mode (in which the engine is above the atmosphere and transitions to using stored liquid oxygen) while in flight. Watch below and find out how the SKYLON is predicted to operate using its SABRE engines when launched and once in orbit.

The engine’s shining feature, the breathing system with a 3D printed injector, works to cool the engines from one extreme temperature to another in less than 0.01 seconds. An amazing feat unmatched by other engines out there, this breathing system allows the SKYLON Spaceplane to reach up to five times the speed of sound and to fly directly into Earth’s orbit. Additionally, use of these engines means that the spaceplane can operate just like a regular aircraft in its takeoff, flight and landing processes.

Reaction Engines Ltd. predicts that the SKYLON Spaceplane will be 400 times more reliable than other aircrafts and will stand as a cost effective alternative vehicle for aerospace companies and organizations. The SKYLON Spaceplane is reusable and, as stated in the video above, can be ready for relaunch within 48 hours of a previous launch.

The ESA were quoted saying that this development and aircraft will stand as “a major breakthrough in propulsion worldwide.”