Author Topic: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)  (Read 420459 times)

Offline lkm

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 508
  • Liked: 91
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #740 on: 11/02/2015 04:49 PM »
One of the most important things about this is that a company as well known as BAE is willing to invest in them, in the first place.

I do think it also increases steeply the likelihood that military applications are paramount here knowing where BAE places it business focus these days. As it says in the link below BAE are primarily a defence company.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/bae-systems-buy-20-stake-reaction-engines-1526711

Now will they be able or wanting to attract other big investors perhaps someone like Airbus?
On reflection what I find interesting is that it is BAE doing this and not Rolls Royce, if it had been the latter then I would have been concerned that they were only interested in having hypersonic engine technology to shop around and had no interest in making a vehicle as they could make a profit just from the engine tachnology but BAE builds aircraft not engines, it makes money from this if Skylon gets built and their investment is structured to put themselves at the head of the que when the work gets handed out.

So BAE believes Skylon is going to be built and that there'll be competition over being part of building it and so this is an investment in having a leg up over other suppliers.
Regarding BAE being a defence company, in fairness they have been trying to diversify, the attempt to merge with EADS was about balancing their defence business with the civil aircraft business of Airbus. Skylon, should it take off, could do that for them.

Offline adrianwyard

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 947
  • Liked: 160
  • Likes Given: 209
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #741 on: 11/02/2015 04:51 PM »
After reading the press release, it does sound as though BAE are bringing much more to the table than a pile of bank notes. I'd say the odds are now good that they'll have some sort of working SABRE test bed in 2020, which is phenomenal news.

Anyone care to guess what was meant by BAE providing access to 'capital resources'? Perhaps financing in addition to the £20 (or for other aspects of the Skylon project, e.g. airframe/TPS development)? If so, then that's also significant.

Quote
The working partnership will draw on BAE Systemsí extensive aerospace technology development and project management expertise and will provide Reaction Engines with access to critical industrial, technical and capital resources to progress towards the demonstration of a ground based engine
« Last Edit: 11/02/2015 04:55 PM by adrianwyard »

Offline aero

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2739
  • 92129
  • Liked: 704
  • Likes Given: 236
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #742 on: 11/02/2015 05:06 PM »
After reading the press release, it does sound as though BAE are bringing much more to the table than a pile of bank notes. I'd say the odds are now good that they'll have some sort of working SABRE test bed in 2020, which is phenomenal news.

Anyone care to guess what was meant by BAE providing access to 'capital resources'? Perhaps financing in addition to the £20 (or for other aspects of the Skylon project, e.g. airframe/TPS development)? If so, then that's also significant.

Quote
The working partnership will draw on BAE Systemsí extensive aerospace technology development and project management expertise and will provide Reaction Engines with access to critical industrial, technical and capital resources to progress towards the demonstration of a ground based engine

I would guess "Capital resources" at a minimum is referring to facilities. Maybe a test stand, work shop and office space. Hopefully a little more, like an upgraded test stand with some minimal staff.

Allowing access to unused facilities shouldn't cost BAE a lot but would be a huge help.
Retired, working interesting problems

Offline adrianwyard

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 947
  • Liked: 160
  • Likes Given: 209
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #743 on: 11/02/2015 05:22 PM »

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1071
  • Arsia Mons, Mars, Sol IV, Inner Solar Solar System, Sol system.
  • Liked: 755
  • Likes Given: 628
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #744 on: 11/02/2015 05:40 PM »
To be fair to BAE, hypersonic aircraft for defense purposes is where the wind is blowing right now; you can understand why they would invest in a company developing enabling propulsion systems for sustained hypersonic flight. Even if it does result in the the technology having a military application, it's not that tragic. It's unlikely a hypersonic jet would ever be used to practically kill people and nearly everything mainstream in civilian aerospace is the result of some kind of military development program.

Resident feline spaceflight expert. Knows nothing of value about human spaceflight.

Offline francesco nicoli

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 491
  • Amsterdam
    • About Crises
  • Liked: 224
  • Likes Given: 331
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #745 on: 11/02/2015 06:34 PM »
Anyway, I guess this is a first anwer to who'll be behind the steer in the manufacturer's consortium. This question has kept us discussing for quite a long time. It might not be the answer we wanted (although it seems logical, ex post) but it's an answer to a rather fundamental question and adds lots of credibility to the project.

Offline knowles2

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 115
  • Liked: 20
  • Likes Given: 50
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #746 on: 11/02/2015 06:49 PM »
Someone at BAE must have been listening to me because I suggested on numerous websites that BAE should invest in Reaction Engines. I didn't think BAE were led by people who were still capable of taking bets on future technologies. They seem too busy trying to flog BAE off.

Skylon is also essentially one large drone and BAE has done a lot of work in developing automated drones. Which would be off great help to Reaction Engines further down the line. BAE is involve in work to get drones to be able to fly in civilian airspace.

One of the most important things about this is that a company as well known as BAE is willing to invest in them, in the first place.

I do think it also increases steeply the likelihood that military applications are paramount here knowing where BAE places it business focus these days. As it says in the link below BAE are primarily a defence company.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/bae-systems-buy-20-stake-reaction-engines-1526711

Now will they be able or wanting to attract other big investors perhaps someone like Airbus?

 
BAE have said in the past that they want to diversify themselves away from defence, ironic considering it wasn't that long ago that they sold their Airbus stake. Investment in cyber security and battery technology is just two areas they are working towards this. Space was a obvious third pillar they could/should pursue but all the prime assets are already own by large companies who aren't willing to sell, which left BAE Systems only one strategy and that was to take a punt on a future technology.
« Last Edit: 11/02/2015 07:00 PM by knowles2 »

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7994
  • UK
  • Liked: 1277
  • Likes Given: 168
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #747 on: 11/02/2015 07:11 PM »

To be fair to BAE, hypersonic aircraft for defense purposes is where the wind is blowing right now; you can understand why they would invest in a company developing enabling propulsion systems for sustained hypersonic flight. Even if it does result in the the technology having a military application, it's not that tragic. It's unlikely a hypersonic jet would ever be used to practically kill people and nearly everything mainstream in civilian aerospace is the result of some kind of military development program.

Don't be so sure at the benign defence usage in the US the hypersonic element would appear to be seen very much as part of the family systems representing the new global strike capability headed by the Northrop Grumman B-3 or whatever it ends up being called.

Offline Alpha_Centauri

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 542
  • England
  • Liked: 162
  • Likes Given: 110
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #748 on: 11/02/2015 07:20 PM »
BAE won't be interested in this to make a hypersonic bomber, at least not directly themselves. At most the stake is there to prevent control by a rival in a better position to do that.

They will however be very interested in the complex systems integration and avionics, hence the preferred supplier contract. Platforms is more their thing now.
« Last Edit: 11/02/2015 07:36 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7994
  • UK
  • Liked: 1277
  • Likes Given: 168
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #749 on: 11/02/2015 08:50 PM »

BAE won't be interested in this to make a hypersonic bomber, at least not directly themselves. At most the stake is there to prevent control by a rival in a better position to do that.

They will however be very interested in the complex systems integration and avionics, hence the preferred supplier contract. Platforms is more their thing now.

It wasn't a hypersonic bomber more a high speed reconnaissance craft with some strike capability.

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3519
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2076
  • Likes Given: 2412
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #750 on: 11/02/2015 10:24 PM »
- BAE Systems agree to buy a 20% stake in Reaction Engines Ltd worth £20.6m, which entitles them to a seat on the board and a position as "preferred supplier".

Well that must be the bargain of the century.
Given REL's potential to own a multi billion dollar industry plus it's significantly valuable IP which has wide commercial applications a valuation oding the press release, it does sound as though BAE are bringing much more to the taf 100 million pounds seems a little low.

The obvious conclusion is that no big industry partner believed the odds of REL owning a multi-billion dollar industry were high.  Value equals size of payoff times probability of achieving the payoff.
Sure but compared to some Silicon Valley unicorns REL has a better shot of owning it's market and the book value of its patents is surely more than the valuation put on the company.

You may believe that, but the facts of this deal say that no big aerospace player and no big investor agrees with your assessment, or REL would have gotten a better valuation (and the bigger financial investment they had earlier indicated they wanted).

On reflection what I find interesting is that it is BAE doing this and not Rolls Royce, if it had been the latter then I would have been concerned that they were only interested in having hypersonic engine technology to shop around and had no interest in making a vehicle as they could make a profit just from the engine tachnology but BAE builds aircraft not engines, it makes money from this if Skylon gets built and their investment is structured to put themselves at the head of the que when the work gets handed out.

So BAE believes Skylon is going to be built and that there'll be competition over being part of building it and so this is an investment in having a leg up over other suppliers.
Regarding BAE being a defence company, in fairness they have been trying to diversify, the attempt to merge with EADS was about balancing their defence business with the civil aircraft business of Airbus. Skylon, should it take off, could do that for them.

No, it doesn't indicate BAE believes Skylon is going to be built.  It indicates BAE thinks there is some small chance that REL technology will end up going into something that gets funded, whether it's Skylon or something else.

This is good news for REL -- they get funded to build an engine and test it on the ground.  Celebrate that, don't try to exaggerate it into far more than it actually is.

Offline Eric Hedman

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 763
  • Liked: 186
  • Likes Given: 157

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5868
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 744
  • Likes Given: 4501
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #752 on: 11/03/2015 07:45 AM »
BAE buys 20% stake in Reaction Engines

Financial Times story here http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a25d2798-7f1b-11e5-98fb-5a6d4728f74e.html

I appreciate most people won't have an FT account, so the main points of the article:
The synopsis is much appreciated.
Quote

- BAE Systems agree to buy a 20% stake in Reaction Engines Ltd worth £20.6m, which entitles them to a seat on the board and a position as "preferred supplier".
That does not sound like much for something that REL have significantly de risked over the last few decades.

As for "preferred supplier" status I'm not sure there's anything BAe can supply that can't be supplied by many other companies.  Key suppliers would be specialist materials and components.

Quote
- The investment in REL will unlock a further £60m grant package from the UK government.
George Osborne offered £60m to REL over the last 2 years. Is this another £60m? If so that's nice but AFAIK that original package had no requirement for REL to get a major investor.
Quote
- However, the group has had to scale back its ambitions for a test engine in order to clinch the funding deal.
So more money, less engine?
Quote
- The group now has "no immediate funding needs".
That's encouraging.
The heat exchanger work miiiiight be applicable to recuperated jet engines, as some of the more advanced ultrahigh bypass ratio turbofan deigns are considering recuperation. Notably MTU, which had a ducted geared counterrotating propfan engine with recuperation (CLAIRE, CRISP, and NEWAC programs). Though that's dealing with turbine exhaust and compressor heat with an all air medium.
REL have stated their HX work has applications to de salination. Highly compact HX's have applications wherever space is a premium, the classic being North Sea oil rigs, which pioneered this kind of stuff, using diffusion bonded plates to create HX's about 1/3 the size based on conventional fluid flow principles. REL's are (IIRC) about 1/2 that size.

One of the most important things about this is that a company as well known as BAE is willing to invest in them, in the first place.
And no doubt BAe told them they were doing them a favor in doing so.  :(

I wondered if they played the "We have guaranteed access to the Prime Minister because we're 'British'" card as well?
Quote
I do think it also increases steeply the likelihood that military applications are paramount here knowing where BAE places it business focus these days. As it says in the link below BAE are primarily a defence company.
Yes, that seat on the board may well cause a fairly corrosive change in viewpoint.

The real problem with their being a defense contractor is their mindset. They are very bad at the concept of selling to something that's not a government and not doing a cost plus contract. Like LM they had a commercial airplane mfg arm but sold it off decades ago.

For a business plan built on the idea of selling to the whole world that's not view point to have.
Quote
Now will they be able or wanting to attract other big investors perhaps someone like Airbus?
Strictly for this it's the banks behind airbus, as it was the banks behind TML, who built the Channel Tunnel, or the banks behind EuroTunnel, who operate it.

Note however that this still depends on a vote from the stockholders.
You may believe that, but the facts of this deal say that no big aerospace player and no big investor agrees with your assessment, or REL would have gotten a better valuation (and the bigger financial investment they had earlier indicated they wanted).
Or perhaps REL's engineering skills exceed their talents for self promotion and negotiation? Not unknown in UK engineering businesses.

I'm sure we can come up with a few other scenarios as well.
Quote
No, it doesn't indicate BAE believes Skylon is going to be built.  It indicates BAE thinks there is some small chance that REL technology will end up going into something that gets funded, whether it's Skylon or something else.
Which no one knows about (or has even designed) but that BAe wants a part of?

Aurora II ?  :)

Only I'm not sure that "preferred supplier" status would carry over onto another project.

Historically very bad things happen to pricing when a key supplier has a monopoly position. I'm thinking of when Orbital went with Hercules for the solids on the Pegaus and the price doubled
Quote
This is good news for REL -- they get funded to build an engine and test it on the ground.  Celebrate that, don't try to exaggerate it into far more than it actually is.
How thoughtful of you to help curb any unseemly displays of enthusiasm.

Indeed let's see how their development programme works out over the next 5 years compared to other player.
"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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7994
  • UK
  • Liked: 1277
  • Likes Given: 168
The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #753 on: 11/03/2015 08:46 AM »
It wouldn't surprise me if BAE want their technology for two reasons. One the obvious ones of commercial opportunities in the space realm. Two & perhaps more immediate that a contract has come up in the black world that they think this technology will put them in a good place to bid for a slice of the action.
« Last Edit: 11/03/2015 08:50 AM by Star One »

Offline t43562

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 172
  • UK
  • Liked: 72
  • Likes Given: 36
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #754 on: 11/03/2015 12:54 PM »
The Financial Times article also mentions that REL have been talking to other industrial partners about joining the project.

So don't hold your breath but this may not be the last such deal.


Offline momerathe

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 137
  • Liked: 59
  • Likes Given: 36
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #755 on: 11/03/2015 01:30 PM »
I'm just glad to see some forward momentum. If the ground test is successful it will persuade some people off the fence, I'm sure.

On a personal note, though, that 5 years is going to be an agonising wait! With any luck some of the BAE PR people will throw us a bone with a bit more regularity ;).
thermodynamics will get you in the end

Offline Ravenger

  • Member
  • Posts: 41
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 4
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #756 on: 11/03/2015 03:44 PM »
BAE has a couple of Skylon renders that may be new on their site. It shows a lighter TPS:

https://resources.baesystems.com/pages/search.php?search=%21collection18040&k=29477be65c&offset=0&order_by=relevance&sort=DESC&thumbs=show&

I love the white Skylon images - looks like the child of SR71 and Concorde. Simply beautiful  :D

I need a model of the D1 version in that colour scheme to go with my C1 model (which was signed by Alan Bond).

 

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3519
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2076
  • Likes Given: 2412
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #757 on: 11/03/2015 06:00 PM »
I'm just glad to see some forward momentum. If the ground test is successful it will persuade some people off the fence, I'm sure.

On a personal note, though, that 5 years is going to be an agonising wait! With any luck some of the BAE PR people will throw us a bone with a bit more regularity ;).

Yeah, 5 years is a long time.  It's not just us having to wait.  Every year that goes hurts REL's chances for Skylon being funded because other players in the launch industry move forward.  If in 5 years SpaceX is regularly launching payloads to orbit on reused first stages, that really cuts badly into the value proposition for Skylon, even if everything goes perfectly with the Sabre engine on the test stand.  The lower the cost of other launch options, the harder it is to make the case for Skylon.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #758 on: 11/03/2015 06:45 PM »
I'm just glad to see some forward momentum. If the ground test is successful it will persuade some people off the fence, I'm sure.

On a personal note, though, that 5 years is going to be an agonising wait! With any luck some of the BAE PR people will throw us a bone with a bit more regularity ;).

Yeah, 5 years is a long time.  It's not just us having to wait.  Every year that goes hurts REL's chances for Skylon being funded because other players in the launch industry move forward.  If in 5 years SpaceX is regularly launching payloads to orbit on reused first stages, that really cuts badly into the value proposition for Skylon, even if everything goes perfectly with the Sabre engine on the test stand.  The lower the cost of other launch options, the harder it is to make the case for Skylon.
If SpaceX can increase the demand for spaceflight by lowering costs with reusability, that only improves Skylon's chances of being developed.

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3519
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2076
  • Likes Given: 2412
Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #759 on: 11/03/2015 06:48 PM »
I'm just glad to see some forward momentum. If the ground test is successful it will persuade some people off the fence, I'm sure.

On a personal note, though, that 5 years is going to be an agonising wait! With any luck some of the BAE PR people will throw us a bone with a bit more regularity ;).

Yeah, 5 years is a long time.  It's not just us having to wait.  Every year that goes hurts REL's chances for Skylon being funded because other players in the launch industry move forward.  If in 5 years SpaceX is regularly launching payloads to orbit on reused first stages, that really cuts badly into the value proposition for Skylon, even if everything goes perfectly with the Sabre engine on the test stand.  The lower the cost of other launch options, the harder it is to make the case for Skylon.
If SpaceX can increase the demand for spaceflight by lowering costs with reusability, that only improves Skylon's chances of being developed.

Not if in the process SpaceX's costs go below those projected for Skylon.

Tags: