Author Topic: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)  (Read 441316 times)

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #840 on: 11/11/2015 12:08 AM »
Not cheaper to the overhaul project through. Whether a subscale model is needed will probably be decided when they have built and tested a full scale sabre engine of the ground. If that engine manages all stages of the flight without any major malfunctions or unexpected issues popping then I suspect they will go for a full scale model, if unexpected issues pop up then they might go for a subscale model. But this will be for testing Sabre engines not simply to test whether skylon model can fly with rocket engines or jet engines attach to it they will use computer simulations for that, which I'm sure they have already done.
Correct. It happens that the SL thrust of a SABRE is about that of Merlin 1d but otherwise you're looking at finding a pair of 138 Klb thrust engines for a full size Skylon or whatever size a sub scale vehicle is.

REL's original test plan was to build 2 "boilerplate" Skylons which they described as "X" and "Y" vehicles. They did not expect the X vehicle to reach orbit but to drive final design for the Y vehicle, which would serve as the final design that would go into production.
Quote
An one person above mention costs. Cost per flight is expected to be just 5 million quid, they add 5 million for cost of acquiring Skylon presuming it will still cost 1 billion per unit but I suspect prices there will full as they introduce more 3d printed components,  and they could add another 5 for their profit and still be less than half the price of Falcon 9 whilst potentially being a lot more flexible in the missions it is able to carry out.
IIRC the figure is  $5m is for propellant and standard launch prep. REL estimated an average of a further $5m averaged over 200 launches for  specific issues on any given flight (nothing on some flights, more on others).

However the price of an F9SR  would only converge on the cost of the Upper Stage plus refurb costs for the 1st stage, unlikely ever to go below about $15m, and probably requiring 8+ launches to get the total package to just over $20m.

Don't expect too much from 3d printing. While I think it can be quite effective for some parts of the engine I think more conventional methods will deliver the necessary production rate and quality.
Remember REL only use cutting edge technology where it is absolutely going to deliver major benefits.

I do think they should be able to do a lot of automated assembly but the joker in the pack is how much all the work they have already done cuts the cost estimates for the later stages, or wheather this R&D was expected to lower mfg and the $12Bn project is the total cost after the cost reductions from the R&D they've been doing have been applied.

The fact remains that Skylon is just very big and when you run aerospace costing models for a vehicle of this size that is the price you get out of them.  :(
« Last Edit: 11/11/2015 12:14 AM by john smith 19 »
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Offline lkm

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #841 on: 11/12/2015 05:57 PM »

Offline knowles2

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #842 on: 11/12/2015 11:50 PM »
Payloads are usually 10x more expensive than launch services...simply reducing launch cost won't stimulate market size effectively, unless extremely low cost to enable different market structure.


One of the reasons they are so costly is because they are built with lots of redundancies that are needed because the people making it know it so expensive to get stuff into orbit. An it takes a relatively long time to get space on a rocket.

If costs of getting stuff into orbit comes down and it quicker to get stuff back up there,  they can use less redundancies and cheaper hardware and replace hardware as needed. 

Offline Citizen Wolf

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #843 on: 11/13/2015 07:41 AM »
Mark Thomas being interviewed

http://edition.cnn.com/videos/business/2015/11/04/bae-systems-reaction-engines-mark-thomas-intv-qmb.cnn

Perhaps this is the one people were referring to a couple of pages ago on this thread, but I didn't see a link to it.
« Last Edit: 11/13/2015 07:45 AM by Citizen Wolf »
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Offline t43562

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #844 on: 11/18/2015 07:55 AM »
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-british-spaceplane-engine-concept-gets-cas-418612/?cmpid=NLC|FGFG|FGFIN-2015-1117-GLOB&sfid=70120000000taAh

Sorry, I am sure this will become a public article soon - you need the free membership to read it now.

The interesting points are:

1) The article suggests that Mark Thomas (REL) and Chris Allam (BAE head of Engineering) think purely UK funding will never be enough.

2) The article says that REL has 10 million from recent fundraising and 20m from BAE so it's "half way to unlocking the UK Space Agency's 60m of matching funding."  They think BAE's investment will galvanise others.

3) The first engine will not  be full size.

The comment about funding seems a bit alarming to me. So really there is a way to go before they get the 60m that we've been taking for granted for so long,
« Last Edit: 11/18/2015 08:22 AM by t43562 »

Offline Star One

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #845 on: 11/18/2015 12:30 PM »
Just to add as a side point there is no guarantee that article will go free, not all on there do.

Offline knowles2

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #846 on: 11/18/2015 01:00 PM »
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-british-spaceplane-engine-concept-gets-cas-418612/?cmpid=NLC|FGFG|FGFIN-2015-1117-GLOB&sfid=70120000000taAh

Sorry, I am sure this will become a public article soon - you need the free membership to read it now.

The interesting points are:

1) The article suggests that Mark Thomas (REL) and Chris Allam (BAE head of Engineering) think purely UK funding will never be enough.

2) The article says that REL has 10 million from recent fundraising and 20m from BAE so it's "half way to unlocking the UK Space Agency's 60m of matching funding."  They think BAE's investment will galvanise others.

3) The first engine will not  be full size.

The comment about funding seems a bit alarming to me. So really there is a way to go before they get the 60m that we've been taking for granted for so long,
It a shame that British industry and finance sector don't seem interested in funding this. It also a shame they aren't building a full size engine, which I guess is solely down to lack of funding rather a decision they willingly made.
« Last Edit: 11/18/2015 01:03 PM by knowles2 »

Offline Ravenger

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #847 on: 11/18/2015 01:30 PM »
It also a shame they aren't building a full size engine, which I guess is solely down to lack of funding rather a decision they willingly made.

Originally the plan was to build a sub-scale 'dissected rabbit' engine, with the parts spread out for easy access, then that changed to developing a full-size engine. Looks like the plan has changed again.

To attract further investment Reaction Engines have to prove the Sabre cycle works, as the only part so far fully experimentally proven is the heat-exchanger with frost control mechanism.

So I imagine building a demonstrator engine is the cheapest, quickest and best way to do that. Once they have hardware which proves the entire engine concept is valid then hopefully a lot more investors will jump in and fund the full size flight engine (and with any luck Skylon too)

What I would be interested to know is if the planned demonstrator engine is flight capable (i.e. could be attached to a test aircraft), or if it's the original plan of a 'dissected rabbit' ground test only engine.

Offline t43562

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #848 on: 11/18/2015 01:53 PM »
What I would be interested to know is if the planned demonstrator engine is flight capable (i.e. could be attached to a test aircraft), or if it's the original plan of a 'dissected rabbit' ground test only engine.

On rereading the quote from Mark Thomas says that demonstration engine now going into design will not be big enough to power Skylon.

Elsewhere, however, they say that they can have SABRE in full scale ground-rig tests before 2020 and a flight vehicle shortly after that.

So what the heck does that mean ? :-).   My reading is that they going to do a small demonstrator first, then a full sized engine  before 2020.
« Last Edit: 11/18/2015 02:02 PM by t43562 »

Offline Star One

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #849 on: 11/18/2015 02:56 PM »

What I would be interested to know is if the planned demonstrator engine is flight capable (i.e. could be attached to a test aircraft), or if it's the original plan of a 'dissected rabbit' ground test only engine.

On rereading the quote from Mark Thomas says that demonstration engine now going into design will not be big enough to power Skylon.

Elsewhere, however, they say that they can have SABRE in full scale ground-rig tests before 2020 and a flight vehicle shortly after that.

So what the heck does that mean ? :-).   My reading is that they going to do a small demonstrator first, then a full sized engine  before 2020.

The engine will probably be used in a subscale technology demonstrator.

Offline francesco nicoli

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #850 on: 11/18/2015 03:16 PM »
what about timelines?
a subscale ground engine is to be readied by end 2017 I guess, if they want to have time to build & test full scale ground engine by 2020.

Offline Ravenger

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #851 on: 11/18/2015 03:46 PM »
The engine will probably be used in a subscale technology demonstrator.

I thought that REL had come to the conclusion that a sub-scale engine was actually more technologically difficult than a full-size one, as high speed turbopumps can't easily be scaled down, which is why they were going full scale.

Perhaps they're going full scale (or near full scale) in size, but not full-power. The engine may not be capable of powering Skylon, but as you say could power a smaller demonstrator aircraft.

Though having to develop a sub-scale demonstrator aircraft will of necessity take funding that could otherwise have been applied to a full-scale Skylon.

Offline momerathe

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #852 on: 11/18/2015 03:49 PM »
1) The article suggests that Mark Thomas (REL) and Chris Allam (BAE head of Engineering) think purely UK funding will never be enough.
It a shame that British industry and finance sector don't seem interested in funding this. It also a shame they aren't building a full size engine, which I guess is solely down to lack of funding rather a decision they willingly made.

Well, they've always been upfront at saying that the estimated cost for the whole SKYLON development was on the order of 10Bn. There just aren't any UK manufacturers left who can shoulder the whole of that cost, so I don't think this is anything new, just making explicit somehting which was always true.

I am somewhat concerned by she sub-scale engine, though. I just hope it doesn't delay the program overall.
thermodynamics will get you in the end

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #853 on: 11/18/2015 04:13 PM »
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-british-spaceplane-engine-concept-gets-cas-418612/?cmpid=NLC|FGFG|FGFIN-2015-1117-GLOB&sfid=70120000000taAh

Sorry, I am sure this will become a public article soon - you need the free membership to read it now.

The interesting points are:

1) The article suggests that Mark Thomas (REL) and Chris Allam (BAE head of Engineering) think purely UK funding will never be enough.

2) The article says that REL has 10 million from recent fundraising and 20m from BAE so it's "half way to unlocking the UK Space Agency's 60m of matching funding."  They think BAE's investment will galvanise others.

3) The first engine will not  be full size.

The comment about funding seems a bit alarming to me. So really there is a way to go before they get the 60m that we've been taking for granted for so long,

10m sounds pretty tiny for a company with the headcount and assets of REL. While the current reality after BAE coming onboard is undoubtedly positive, I wonder if we'd be hearing bad news soon if they had not. Perhaps this explains why BAE got what appears to be a very good deal.

Online Jim Davis

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #854 on: 11/18/2015 04:38 PM »
The engine will probably be used in a subscale technology demonstrator.

Is this demonstrator under contract?

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #855 on: 11/18/2015 04:59 PM »
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-british-spaceplane-engine-concept-gets-cas-418612/?cmpid=NLC|FGFG|FGFIN-2015-1117-GLOB&sfid=70120000000taAh
...

2) The article says that REL has 10 million from recent fundraising and 20m from BAE so it's "half way to unlocking the UK Space Agency's 60m of matching funding."  They think BAE's investment will galvanise others.

3) The first engine will not  be full size.

The comment about funding seems a bit alarming to me. So really there is a way to go before they get the 60m that we've been taking for granted for so long,

I believe this is the first time we've heard the UKSA 60m is matching funds, released when REL has their own 60m. The following prior announcements talk about the money being released in the past tense, and to encourage investment in REL. I wonder which it is.

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/press_release/Press_Release_17July2013_SABRE.pdf
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-23332592

Offline Star One

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #856 on: 11/18/2015 07:01 PM »

The engine will probably be used in a subscale technology demonstrator.

I thought that REL had come to the conclusion that a sub-scale engine was actually more technologically difficult than a full-size one, as high speed turbopumps can't easily be scaled down, which is why they were going full scale.

Perhaps they're going full scale (or near full scale) in size, but not full-power. The engine may not be capable of powering Skylon, but as you say could power a smaller demonstrator aircraft.

Though having to develop a sub-scale demonstrator aircraft will of necessity take funding that could otherwise have been applied to a full-scale Skylon.

I imagine a subscale demonstrator would be attractive in publicising the technology beyond its use in Skylon. Other interested parties such as the AFRL would be no doubt invited to view it.

Offline 93143

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #857 on: 11/18/2015 08:55 PM »
I believe what happened is that they had a large investment that handily exceeded the government funding amount, but the investor pulled out for reasons unknown.

I must say I'm somewhat disappointed in the aerospace business community, but this is a familiar feeling as I am also a fan of Polywell...

Offline pippin

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #858 on: 11/19/2015 12:04 AM »


3) The first engine will not  be full size.


Is that "not large enough to power Skylon, but large enough to power this thing the USAF mentioned they might be interested in?"

If that was it the 60m would hardly be an issue

Offline t43562

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #859 on: 11/19/2015 07:29 AM »

3) The first engine will not  be full size.


Is that "not large enough to power Skylon, but large enough to power this thing the USAF mentioned they might be interested in?"

Your guess is as good as mine but of course as Pippin said, one would imagine that money was not an issue in that case.

A family member had a small business which got into trouble for what I think were similar reasons - he committed it to expansion and larger overheads and an investor decided not to make what I think was an agreed investment.  Hence I have been waiting with trepidation for this to happen to REL because I don't believe in promises about money - it's not real till it's in your bank account and they can't take it back.



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