Author Topic: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)  (Read 420359 times)

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1140 on: 01/01/2016 10:41 PM »
BAE systems is primarily a defense company and I am guessing their substantial investment in developing the SABRE engine technology is more related to its military applications. These technologies being used for hypersonic UAVs strikes me as being more likely than SKYLON or Concorde 2.0. 

For that reason, I don't think the success of Falcon9R will dent the development of SABRE engine.
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

Online Robotbeat

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1141 on: 01/01/2016 11:51 PM »
I think F9R's success so far, on balance, gives Skylon a better shot than it otherwise would.
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Offline francesco nicoli

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1142 on: 01/02/2016 09:07 AM »
I think F9R's success so far, on balance, gives Skylon a better shot than it otherwise would.

Yes, I agree with you. Also, if BAE is really mainly interested in defense, they would not oppose a partnership with different companies which are not their direct competitors in the defense sector. This, of course, excludes LM and therefore ULA; but they are not the only players in town.

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1143 on: 01/03/2016 06:12 PM »
Sad news from REL at the end of 2015:

Quote
John Scott-Scott, one of the three founders of Reaction Engines, passed away in the early hours of Saturday 12th December 2015.
 
This marked the passing of a truly remarkable aerospace engineer. Thanks in no small part to Johnís tireless work, Reaction Engines now enjoys recognition by both Government and Industry through strong partnerships with BAE Systems, and the UK and European Space Agencies. This success is a tribute to John, his incredible abilities and his perseverance.

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/about_history_john_scott-scott.html

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1144 on: 01/03/2016 06:31 PM »
Several posts back Jim pointed out problems with the way Skylon ground ops are depicted in REL animations. We have heard before that the animations are just 'illustrative', for example showing A380s in the vicinity in order to show scale, not that there would be any at the sapceport. That started me thinking about what real ground ops might be like; what are the informed guesses we can make.

I'll throw out a couple: how will startup hydrogen burnoff, and static fire be handled?

1] Presumably Skylon's SABRE's would need some sort of sparkler to safely burn any hydrogen that's released during startup and/or aborted startup. Given that we think the Skylon will be fueled while on the runway, it will need to be positioned precisely over the fueling stations, and so the SABRE's could line up with fixed sparklers built at the end of the runway?

2] For static fire, I suppose you would have to build hard points into the SABRE's that mate to a fixed structure at the end of the runway. I doubt the runway material could endure the plume from a full duration test, including transition to rocket mode, so I think you'd need to excavate a large volume to accommodate this. (Just make sure a landing Skylon doesn't overshoot and nosedive into it...)

But if you didn't need a full duration test, a much simpler solution could be to just let Skylon roll down the runway unhindered. It's long enough to allow for a fairly long burn and then a leisurely braking afterwards.

What else?

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/vid_skylonops.html

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1145 on: 01/03/2016 06:32 PM »
Respects to an aerospace pioneer.... May he rest in peace...
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1146 on: 01/03/2016 09:52 PM »
1] Presumably Skylon's SABRE's would need some sort of sparkler to safely burn any hydrogen that's released during startup and/or aborted startup.
It's usually called a flare stack and the ignitor is basically a spark plug. However REL's COP is to load and launch within 2 hrs or recycle the propellants to long term storage. By pre cooling the hardware and the propellants they expect zero boiloff under normal operation. An aborted takeoff is probably the most challenging, but I guess the question is how do current transport aircraft handle it? AFAIK they get the crew off ASAP and then unload the fuel and otherwise "safe" the vehicle, usually with a fair amount of fire retardent foam.
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Given that we think the Skylon will be fueled while on the runway,
Not quite. REL state they expect to do this at a specific "hard stand" area. To reduce the number of skin penetrations the drain/fill connectors are planned to be in the wheel wells, with automated refueling. Given UAV's have demonstrated in flight refuelling this should be fairly straightforward given a combination of grooves in the concrete and compliant couplings.
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it will need to be positioned precisely over the fueling stations, and so the SABRE's could line up with fixed sparklers built at the end of the runway?
No boil off means no burn off.
Quote
2] For static fire, I suppose you would have to build hard points into the SABRE's that mate to a fixed structure at the end of the runway. I doubt the runway material could endure the plume from a full duration test, including transition to rocket mode, so I think you'd need to excavate a large volume to accommodate this. (Just make sure a landing Skylon doesn't overshoot and nosedive into it...)
This is for VTO ELV's. AFAIK aircraft do some short full thrust tests before brake release.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1147 on: 01/04/2016 01:14 AM »
JCRM: thanks for that. There is indeed a description of operations and even a draft spaceport layout on page 15 of IAC-14.D2.4.5: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=36826.0;attach=1083478

There's no mention of long duration static fire, just that full-thrust will be verified before committing to launch - when brakes are released. Evidently they're good brakes  :)

The runway has a 'starter strip' that's designed to withstand greater heating, as well as another toughened region where Skylon rotates.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1148 on: 01/05/2016 08:18 AM »
There's no mention of long duration static fire, just that full-thrust will be verified before committing to launch - when brakes are released. Evidently they're good brakes  :)
They will be.

Outside nosecones and leading edges for orbital vehicles big aircraft brakes seems to have been the success story for Reinforced Carbon Carbon materials.

Keep in mind at this point the brakes are stopping Skylon to start moving. Later on they have to deal with its momentum, which is much higher, hence the water cooling.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1149 on: 01/05/2016 08:33 AM »
Hopefully it will lay to rest some of the "It's not possible to reuse a launch vehicle without months and millions spent on refurbishment" doubts some have, but perhaps we have to wait until someone manages to reuse a second stage.
Well half a launch vehicle at any rate.

The real question is does this lower the $/Kg price to orbit.

My numbers for F9SR suggest probably not enough to matter.  :(

Only the Skylon design and business model (currently) delivers the freedom of launch base, launch supplier and launch schedule that could do makes a global launch market a reality.
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Once fully reusable  launch vehicles have been achieved, how long will expendables be allowed to continue - with viable alternatives, are people going to carry on accepting the necessity of falling COPVs? (or will they be fine, until something important is hit by one, at which point it will be an unacceptable risk that must never be allowed again?)
The COPV for the F9 stage was inside the tank most of the time.

If you mean a COPV as a solid fuel SRB or stage then you're really talking about ICBM technology, which people will want regardless, because they want long term silo storage with launch on demand and accept the poor Isp in return because they want the ability to flash fry their enemies.   :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1150 on: 01/05/2016 09:41 AM »
Yes, I agree with you. Also, if BAE is really mainly interested in defense, they would not oppose a partnership with different companies which are not their direct competitors in the defense sector. This, of course, excludes LM and therefore ULA; but they are not the only players in town.
For some time now it's looked like Finance is the key issue for moving SABRESkylon forward.

REL is not an aircraft builder but wants to get (a kind of) an aircraft built so it can be a sub contractor to the builder.

This makes raising funding for the current generation of work very tricky, despite (as REL point out) 94 countries having a national space agency, along with (as 2015) 1800 billionaires.

These facts suggest there is a substantial group of people and organizations who want (or could afford) a part or all of a fully reusable (and re saleable) system that could give them on demand access to LEO and (if wanted) GEO.

The challenge is how to get those organizations to legally commit to buying a system that does not yet exist to be manufactured by an organization that also does not exist yet.  :(

This has certainly been done in the past for large capital goods like mainframe computers and aircraft and has been critical  in allowing the companies to approach banks for funding for the development.

The novel aspects of this would be a)REL is acting as an "agent" for an organization that has not been formed yet. Indeed the existence of the commitments would encourage its formation to begin with. b)There have to be safeguards on cost and schedule so no (expected) purchase would have an unlimited price to pay at an indefinite time in the future. This suggests inflation and time clauses. If a consortium can't do it in the time and the maximum price then the organization has to buy nothing, although it if wants one after that it would then have to pay open market price for it (assumed Skylon was developed eventually).

Enough such signings would give REL a pool of confirmed sales the consortium would have at it's disposal provided it can deliver Skylon within the limit and make an adequate profit at the contract price at the time of delivery. That in turn gives incentives to get companies to join the consortium (based on their assessment of REL and their own abilities to deliver their parts) and that in turn gives funding organizations confidence to commit funds (based on their assessment of the consortium members financial and implementation track records).

It's a weird idea that a company (REL) creates such an asset (a pool of commitments) to transfer to another company that does not yet exist yet to facilitate its future growth. "Bootstrap" financing of both the consortium and the banks ?

The problem is it's a business solution and while I have no doubts about REL's technical competence I'm not sure they have anyone who's raised funds on this sort of scale in a commercial (IE from banks, not direct government funding, as in defense projects) environment.   :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1151 on: 01/07/2016 10:24 PM »
Yes, I agree with you. Also, if BAE is really mainly interested in defense, they would not oppose a partnership with different companies which are not their direct competitors in the defense sector. This, of course, excludes LM and therefore ULA; but they are not the only players in town.
For some time now it's looked like Finance is the key issue for moving SABRESkylon forward.

REL is not an aircraft builder but wants to get (a kind of) an aircraft built so it can be a sub contractor to the builder.

This makes raising funding for the current generation of work very tricky, despite (as REL point out) 94 countries having a national space agency, along with (as 2015) 1800 billionaires.

These facts suggest there is a substantial group of people and organizations who want (or could afford) a part or all of a fully reusable (and re saleable) system that could give them on demand access to LEO and (if wanted) GEO.

The challenge is how to get those organizations to legally commit to buying a system that does not yet exist to be manufactured by an organization that also does not exist yet.  :(

This has certainly been done in the past for large capital goods like mainframe computers and aircraft and has been critical  in allowing the companies to approach banks for funding for the development.

The novel aspects of this would be a)REL is acting as an "agent" for an organization that has not been formed yet. Indeed the existence of the commitments would encourage its formation to begin with. b)There have to be safeguards on cost and schedule so no (expected) purchase would have an unlimited price to pay at an indefinite time in the future. This suggests inflation and time clauses. If a consortium can't do it in the time and the maximum price then the organization has to buy nothing, although it if wants one after that it would then have to pay open market price for it (assumed Skylon was developed eventually).

Enough such signings would give REL a pool of confirmed sales the consortium would have at it's disposal provided it can deliver Skylon within the limit and make an adequate profit at the contract price at the time of delivery. That in turn gives incentives to get companies to join the consortium (based on their assessment of REL and their own abilities to deliver their parts) and that in turn gives funding organizations confidence to commit funds (based on their assessment of the consortium members financial and implementation track records).

It's a weird idea that a company (REL) creates such an asset (a pool of commitments) to transfer to another company that does not yet exist yet to facilitate its future growth. "Bootstrap" financing of both the consortium and the banks ?

The problem is it's a business solution and while I have no doubts about REL's technical competence I'm not sure they have anyone who's raised funds on this sort of scale in a commercial (IE from banks, not direct government funding, as in defense projects) environment.   :(

No worries! The guys who handle the excellent PR for REL are the ones handling the direct business work... Oh... wait...

Seriously it's scary at times when you really think about RELs position and the fact they've gotten as far as they have. Ahh well, it's another year so here comes 12 more months of Opportunity! (And Spirit, and opportunity even but this is about Skylon :) )

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1152 on: 01/08/2016 09:48 AM »
No worries! The guys who handle the excellent PR for REL are the ones handling the direct business work... Oh... wait...
Indeed the REL PR team is trying. I've sometime viewed their efforts and thought "this is very trying."  :)
Quote
Seriously it's scary at times when you really think about RELs position and the fact they've gotten as far as they have. Ahh well, it's another year so here comes 12 more months of Opportunity! (And Spirit, and opportunity even but this is about Skylon :) )

Randy
True. Nice to see you posting again. It seems like it's been an age.  :)

I'm a great believer in the idea that chaos creates opportunity and I'm hoping the coming year may generate enough for some investors to start looking round and asking themselves "Who's got a well developed plan to deliver a better solution and who's demonstrated the ability and stamina to execute when fully funded?"

Provided REL can recognize when such opportunities are offered and take advantage of them.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1153 on: 01/11/2016 07:13 AM »
Quote from: http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/press_release/2015-12-28_Chris_Allam_Appointment_FINAL.pdf
The Board of Reaction Engines Ltd is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Allam, Engineering Director at BAE  Systems,  as  a  Director  of  the  Company. His  appointment  is  part  of  the  strategic investment and working partner relationship BAE Systems has entered into with Reaction Engines and he will co-ordinate BAE Systemsí collaboration on Reaction Enginesí development of its SABREô engine.

[...]
Previous roles within BAE Systems include Senior Vice President of F-35 Lightning II (2011), Managing Director  of  Autonomous  Systems  and  Future  Capability  (2008), and Project Director for Unmanned Air Vehicles within BAE Systemsí Future Systems division (2006)
So, some experience with developing new technologies?
He's clearly part of the price for the BAe investment.

His resume looks like he's some experience with UAV's which is obviously important but BAe's history with in house developed UAV's has not been impressive (Watchkeeper, anyone?)

As for the F35 the last estimate I saw was it was around 7 years late and $168 billion over budget.
IE Skylon could be built for about 8% of the cost overrun on the programme.

That makes him quite skilled at telling governments why they are not getting what they wanted for the price they wanted it at the time they expected it (and BTW could we have some more money please).

Is this the skillset you need for raising funds in a commercial background? Probably not. Does that mean REL are going to go 100% government funding? I hope not

REL have shown they are very smart engineers. I just hope their staff selection skills are as well developed.  :(

"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Star One

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1154 on: 01/11/2016 02:57 PM »

Quote from: http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/press_release/2015-12-28_Chris_Allam_Appointment_FINAL.pdf
The Board of Reaction Engines Ltd is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Allam, Engineering Director at BAE  Systems,  as  a  Director  of  the  Company. His  appointment  is  part  of  the  strategic investment and working partner relationship BAE Systems has entered into with Reaction Engines and he will co-ordinate BAE Systemsí collaboration on Reaction Enginesí development of its SABRE engine.

[...]
Previous roles within BAE Systems include Senior Vice President of F-35 Lightning II (2011), Managing Director  of  Autonomous  Systems  and  Future  Capability  (2008), and Project Director for Unmanned Air Vehicles within BAE Systemsí Future Systems division (2006)
So, some experience with developing new technologies?
He's clearly part of the price for the BAe investment.

His resume looks like he's some experience with UAV's which is obviously important but BAe's history with in house developed UAV's has not been impressive (Watchkeeper, anyone?)

As for the F35 the last estimate I saw was it was around 7 years late and $168 billion over budget.
IE Skylon could be built for about 8% of the cost overrun on the programme.

That makes him quite skilled at telling governments why they are not getting what they wanted for the price they wanted it at the time they expected it (and BTW could we have some more money please).

Is this the skillset you need for raising funds in a commercial background? Probably not. Does that mean REL are going to go 100% government funding? I hope not

REL have shown they are very smart engineers. I just hope their staff selection skills are as well developed.  :(

So are you blaming BAE for the issues with the F-35 program because to me that's quite clearly very little to do with them. Also it is rather past history being as the program is now on track.

As for the comments about UAVs, again though it maybe only a technology demonstrator I would say their experience with delivering the Taranis is far more applicable here than the Watchkeeper program.

In fact I find the whole of your commentary here to be pretty unwarranted and little to do with the topic at hand.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1155 on: 01/12/2016 01:05 PM »
So are you blaming BAE for the issues with the F-35 program because to me that's quite clearly very little to do with them.
This suggests they are quite deeply integrated into the programme

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/f-35-bae.htm

Certainly cost questions have been raised on the "autonomic logistics" system which is part of their remit to the point where the DoD have put this part of the work out to open tender.

Quote
Also it is rather past history being as the program is now on track.
That's fine where the customers a government and this sort of re-scoping is SOP when things go wrong but in the commercial field 7 years late is 7 years late. Not to mention the little matter of how it got to be 7 years late.
Quote
As for the comments about UAVs, again though it maybe only a technology demonstrator I would say their experience with delivering the Taranis is far more applicable here than the Watchkeeper program.
Taranis seems impressive (given what little's been released about it) and just 28% over budget.
I don't think that's particularly good by commercial funding standards.

I found it interesting that BAe asked for preferred supplier status in addition to their seat on the Board. You wonder what systems that was for and suspect REL could get better with an open tender.
Quote
In fact I find the whole of your commentary here to be pretty unwarranted and little to do with the topic at hand.
Wow. I really seem to have hit a raw nerve with you. My apologies.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1156 on: 01/12/2016 01:42 PM »
John, you may be looking at this the wrong way I think :)

Going over his resume presented again:
"Previous roles within BAE Systems include Senior Vice President of F-35 Lightning II (2011), Managing Director  of  Autonomous  Systems  and  Future  Capability  (2008), and Project Director for Unmanned Air Vehicles within BAE Systemsí Future Systems division (2006)"

I suspect REL/BAE are more interested in his experience with automated flight systems and "future capability/systems" than his overall experience with the F-35. (Though to be honest, one of the criteria for the on-board systems of the F-35 is fully automated take-offs and landing capability and supposedly automated refueling capability)

Considering that the Skylon is supposed to operate autonomously as a UAV for most operations I suspect "that" is the reasoning behind the appointment AND relationship with BAE.

I fully expect that this is also in-line with RELs attempts to get the government more interested in their work and to help secure funding both government and private.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline Star One

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1157 on: 01/12/2016 03:14 PM »

John, you may be looking at this the wrong way I think :)

Going over his resume presented again:
"Previous roles within BAE Systems include Senior Vice President of F-35 Lightning II (2011), Managing Director  of  Autonomous  Systems  and  Future  Capability  (2008), and Project Director for Unmanned Air Vehicles within BAE Systemsí Future Systems division (2006)"

I suspect REL/BAE are more interested in his experience with automated flight systems and "future capability/systems" than his overall experience with the F-35. (Though to be honest, one of the criteria for the on-board systems of the F-35 is fully automated take-offs and landing capability and supposedly automated refueling capability)

Considering that the Skylon is supposed to operate autonomously as a UAV for most operations I suspect "that" is the reasoning behind the appointment AND relationship with BAE.

I fully expect that this is also in-line with RELs attempts to get the government more interested in their work and to help secure funding both government and private.

Randy

I suspect you're on the right track with your final paragraph. The chance of this project getting off the ground without some kind of governmental financial support has looked increasingly slim to me as time has gone on.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1158 on: 01/12/2016 05:39 PM »
I suspect you're on the right track with your final paragraph. The chance of this project getting off the ground without some kind of governmental financial support has looked increasingly slim to me as time has gone on.

Well it's not a given though as REL and others have been pointing out :) The problem (again as REL and others have been pointing out) is that government support is elusive, fickle, and more often than not less help than hindrance, but this being a "launch vehicle" the expectation is there that at some point the government has to give it its blessings.

In truth this kind of project CAN be undertaken strictly as a private venture but the perception is there and can't be ignored. On the converse side, you have to take into account the "positive" attitude shown by "the government" both at home and abroad and figure that alone is a pretty good indication that "someone" thinks the project worth supporting.

But REL is an engine design/manufacturer with a unique product that needs to have others become partners in order to see a complete product. This is FAR from the first time such circumstances have happened and I, personally think that today's environment would seem to give a better chance of success than any time prior. But I look at the history of the SERJ (supercharged-ejector-ramjet) engine and other "innovative" air-breathing systems that failed to fly for lack of government interest, intermittent support, or numerous other factors and I can't at all fault RELs emphasis on not DEPENDING on the government if they can at all help it.

Lacking a dedicated angel investor or consortium of investors they may indeed have to turn directly to the government, a government, but they've managed a lot more than a lot of people ever thought they would already :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1159 on: 01/13/2016 12:23 PM »
Considering that the Skylon is supposed to operate autonomously as a UAV for most operations I suspect "that" is the reasoning behind the appointment AND relationship with BAE.
That's reasonable but I'm very weary of why BAe wanted "preferred supplier" status on some systems, and what they are.

Yes automated takeoff and landing is tricky but the X10 demonstrated autonomous landing in the late 50's and the first blind landing of a commercial aircraft took place in 1964. I think it's pretty clear that a takeoff or landing from a floating runway (pretty much the worst case scenario) is never going to happen outside a Bond movie.   :)
 
Skylon will pose unique problems given it's size and stiffness but I find it very hard to believe BAe has a unique skillset in this area. Uncommon, but not unique.  :(
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

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