If you had never tried the Concorde before it was taken out of commission, well, you just might make it onto a supersonic passenger jet yet. Say hello to Reaction Engines that says it's creating engines that will make the Concorde look like a laggard.
On its website: "Driven by an extensive and pioneering technology programme, Reaction Engines Ltd has made a breakthrough in aerospace technology that is now allowing the development of engines that will propel aircraft at speeds of up to five times the speed of sound or directly into Earth orbit."
To put it into context: the Concorde's cruising speed was about 1,350 mph, twice the speed of sound (761 mph approximately).
A nip to the end of the world and back
How is this possible? One part of Reaction's solution is to bypass fossil fuels and instead rely on liquid hydrogen. Another part is Reaction's Scimitar precooled engine that manages to sustain Mach 5 flight speeds at an exhaust velocity of 40,900 m/s. Pre-cooling is important - what makes this engine special is that the air entering it is quickly cooled without blocking said engine by freezing up.
According to the company, the Scimitar engine can power a plane capable of a 20,000 km range. Reaction has created a specific jet frame, which it calls the A2, that can seat 300 passengers and is built with a lot of similarities to Reaction's Skylon space shuttle. Only difference is that the A2 is not created to sustain reentry into the atmosphere.
Reaction had better not wait too long to get its technology commercial as Airbus is apparently trying to develop the world's first business supersonic jet. In the meantime, a four-hour flight from Brussels to Sydney sounds pretty amazing if you ask us.
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[Source: Reaction Engines]