Author Topic: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (1)  (Read 691987 times)

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Skylon
« Reply #600 on: 04/28/2012 01:32 am »
Good going too considering I was half-stunned for a few minutes seeing the precooler wondering if I was actually looking at the right page...

Yeah I saw the other article but it seemed a bit more dumbed down.

I especially like,

Quote
"We intend to go to the Farnborough International Air Show in July with a clear message," explained REL managing director Alan Bond.

"The message is that Britain has the next step beyond the jet engine; that we can reduce the world to four hours - the maximum time it would take to go anywhere. And that it also gives us aircraft that can go into space, replacing all the expendable rockets we use today."

 8)

Just need to prove it works first...


Thats really the elephant in the room here.

This concept is all well and good, but the entire skylon idea hinges on the engine functioning properly.


And I honestly don't know what to think of it. It seems all well and good but there are so many places for it to go wrong, especially just considering the physics involved in dropping air temp's that fast then raising them again during the burn (lots of hot and cold places across the engine means more failure points). So you have thermal cycling to deal with big time and oh btw has anyone given any thought on how to prevent this cooler and the modified jet turbine from icing up severely? There is moisture in that air and it will freeze especially with the sort of temperature drop we are talking about here. As far as I can see this thing could just turn itself into a giant ice block in a matter of seconds. I could be wrong.


Anyway I wish them luck on these tests, what I would really like to see is a fully assembled engine prove itself out through a full gambit of tests, not just the cooler. But we will see.
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #601 on: 04/28/2012 01:39 am »
Wanted to expound a bit more on that, the company itself says on its website that initial testing of the cooler has gone well, so I suppose that would imply they solved the icing problem somehow or have not experienced it yet.


If its solved anyone know how?
« Last Edit: 04/28/2012 06:22 pm by FinalFrontier »
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Offline flymetothemoon

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #602 on: 04/28/2012 02:07 am »
Thats really the elephant in the room here.

]has anyone given any thought on how to prevent this cooler and the modified jet turbine from icing up severely?[/b] There is moisture in


It's almost like you have only read one of the last half dozen posts? I am querying the temperature shift from +1000 to -140 degrees, but I am agreeing that they are principally testing the frost control tech here:

Honestly, the bigger question (as identified in the ESA report) was not whether it would cool the hottest air, but whether it would cool troposphere air with becoming covered in ice. And that's what they're testing right now.

You're right. They are clearly taking things in priority order and the frost control system is THE big thing to prove. It was only discussed a few pages ago in this thread how air is most humid and problematic down here, not at the latter stages of the air breathing mode at higher altitude.

As per their faq, this is their key, revolutionary technology:

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

11. How does your frost control technology work?   
 Very well, thank you! (We aren't giving everything away!)
 

Offline lkm

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #603 on: 04/28/2012 08:59 am »
So who thinks that we'll see David Willetts and Kevin Holleran announcing full phase 3 funding at Farnborough this July?
This level of publicity coupled with stating that they'd actually like some public money [snip!]

 A minority government in the UK opening up its purse to this project?
The British Chancellor of the Exchequer in a generous mood?
Hmmm.

Not to be skeptical, but to be encouraging, I say that those of you involved in the project should take a page from history (Von Braun
developing the V2 in wartime; Korolev developing the R7 for the Soviet
military) and approach the British DoD (or NATO in general) an
push the SABRE engine's/Skylon's military applications...and eventually you may get civilian applications (just like the V2 evolved into the Jupiter satellite launcher; R7 into the Sputnik launcher).

 Of course if you are or you are not, you aren't saying. 
 

In terms of government support all they seem to be looking for is less than £30 million a year over three years, given UKSA spent £40 million on the first broadband Sat and are spending £45m on SSTL's new radar Sat that seems entirely realistic for UKSA seed funding.

As for military applications, they must be there but RE seems to have looked at none of them besides which the MOD currently has negative money and the DOD would come with project ending ITAR issues and an Americanisation of a firmly British project. Which RE don't want.

Offline flymetothemoon

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #604 on: 04/28/2012 09:41 am »
Yup. <£30m per year over 3 years. Exactly the figuresI was thinking about.

They seem to have gone out of their way to not mention skylon in the same breath as government and defence. I think they have wanted to make clear that this has legs without either of them.

...but clearly there are defence applications.


Offline lkm

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #605 on: 04/28/2012 10:55 am »
Yup. <£30m per year over 3 years. Exactly the figuresI was thinking about.

They seem to have gone out of their way to not mention skylon in the same breath as government and defence. I think they have wanted to make clear that this has legs without either of them.

...but clearly there are defence applications.


.
On the space show they talked a little about SUSTAIN, putting thirteen marines anywhere in the world in 2 hours, and it occurred to me that with suborbital deployment they could have up to 30mt to play with in getting that done and the actual constraint for that could be payload diameter creating a very high ballistic coefficient and so needing good TPS.

Something more feasible would be the UAV to anywhere, an x-24b pretty much fits if you fold the wing tips. With Skylon you could launch whole sorties of UCAV's from CONUS to anywhere.

Offline Archibald

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #606 on: 04/28/2012 11:02 am »
They don't want any public funding, so the chancellor of exchequer mood doesn't matter.
And yes, if Skylon ever works, the military applications are obvious. I wonder how REL, Alan Bond and even Great Britain will handle that ? Will REL sell Skylons to USAF if required  ?
« Last Edit: 04/28/2012 11:03 am by Archibald »
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Offline lkm

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #607 on: 04/28/2012 03:17 pm »
They don't want any public funding, so the chancellor of exchequer mood doesn't matter.
And yes, if Skylon ever works, the military applications are obvious. I wonder how REL, Alan Bond and even Great Britain will handle that ? Will REL sell Skylons to USAF if required  ?

If you listen to the Alan Bond interview which was part of the linked BBC article he says they'd like the government to chip in around a third of the phase 3 costs over the next three years (a third of £250m or £27m a year) to signal confidence in the project and leverage the much larger private investment required.

Given RE only intend to be a supplier of heat exchangers to a Skylon consortium presumably consisting of some combination of Rolls Royce, BAE and EADS, collectively a large part of the anglo-american defence sector I'm sure they'll have absolutely no problem selling Skylons to the USAF, or Sabre derivatives, Scimitars or such. Mach 5 bomber anyone? 

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #608 on: 04/28/2012 03:36 pm »
Skylon will be ITAR-free, can't see the USAF/DOD buying a vehicle with no significant American industrial involvement.  I expect armed forces as customers only.

I would hardly call RR, BAE, EADS etc "anglo-american" either, especially in light of the USAF tanker procurement...
« Last Edit: 04/28/2012 03:36 pm by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline Moe Grills

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #609 on: 04/28/2012 05:16 pm »
   I know not everyone is fond of the way Von Braun
and Korolev achieved (part) of their dreams by using
the circumstances of war (cold or hot) to draw in
generous government/military funding to create
hitherto unrealized large rocket-boosters that evolved
from their missiles.
But I certainly do not mind seeing the Skylon developed/modified
to carry a squad of SAS special forces literally  halfway around
the world in four hours.
(I do hope that somebody in the senior ranks of the British armed forces is reading this!)

It's too bad Alan Bond didn't pursue that avenue with Margaret Thatcher
in the 1980's; we might have a civilian HOTOL today evolved from a military hypersonic transport.


Could have. Should have. Would have.
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Offline lkm

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #610 on: 04/28/2012 05:20 pm »
Skylon will be ITAR-free, can't see the USAF/DOD buying a vehicle with no significant American industrial involvement.  I expect armed forces as customers only.

I would hardly call RR, BAE, EADS etc "anglo-american" either, especially in light of the USAF tanker procurement...

Both RR and BAE have substantial American holdings and American defence contracts, BAE especially is the tenth largest defence company in the US and that represents half of all BAE revenue.

As for the USAF's willingness to forgo buying the world's first SSTO RLV and enabler of previously unachievable classified mission plans,  I was only arguing that they would be a welcome customer, not that they had the sense enough to buy.

Offline Jim

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #611 on: 04/28/2012 07:19 pm »
SUSTAIN is not a viable concept and not a mission for Skylon.   Neither is it as a bomber.

Offline lkm

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #612 on: 04/28/2012 10:17 pm »
I wasn't thinking of Skylon so much as the basic engine technology and what that could enable in other form factors.
Scimitar already exists as a concept for a purely airbreathing Sabre to power hypersonic airliners but a smaller version could just as easily power a hypersonic bomber if the trade of tank volume for speed was thought worth it.


Offline baldusi

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Re: Skylon
« Reply #613 on: 04/28/2012 11:10 pm »
I am hoping Baldusi will see this response and let us know anything more about the 'D4' 20 ton revision?  Do you have any links? Thanks.
I'm more than ashamed to say that I misread my notes on the D1 and the Shuttle comparison. The current version is the D1. No D4 that I have information of. I had misnoted shuttle bay size and payload.

Offline flymetothemoon

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #614 on: 05/01/2012 05:48 pm »
I am hoping Baldusi will see this response and let us know anything more about the 'D4' 20 ton revision?  Do you have any links? Thanks.
I'm more than ashamed to say that I misread my notes on the D1 and the Shuttle comparison. The current version is the D1. No D4 that I have information of. I had misnoted shuttle bay size and payload.

Ah well. No problem. It was certainly a surprise to hear. 20 tonnes would nearly cover the capacity of anything possible today with expendables which would have been quite something.

Of course one also needs to drop the expendable mindset somewhat. If you can lift up to 15 tonnes, 3 times in one week with just one skylon and shift each of those loads to higher orbit with a tug, the whole picture of possibilities changes anyway.

Offline simonbp

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #615 on: 05/01/2012 07:25 pm »
It's not necessarily comparable; REL has as much confidence as they do largely because of computer models and simulations that they could never have in the 1980's without very expensive practical testing. So if you think Skylon is expensive to develop now, HOTOL/Skylon in the 1980s would have been astronomically bad...

Offline aga

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #616 on: 05/02/2012 07:58 am »
i guess nobody has posted this here yet...

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/news_apr12.html

Quote
Pre-cooler testing at B9 Phase 1 successfully completed

The first phase of the pre-cooler test programme has been completed successfully and the test cooler is currently being disassembled, inspected and re-assembled in a new configuration for the second phase of testing.
42

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #617 on: 05/03/2012 06:20 am »
 
It's too bad Alan Bond didn't pursue that avenue with Margaret Thatcher
in the 1980's; we might have a civilian HOTOL today evolved from a military hypersonic transport.

The UK is the only country that had independent space launch and nuclear weapons. It gave up the space launch capability.

South Africa appears to have been the only holder of nuclear weapons that renounced them.

It's interesting to see which one got the better deal from the freed resources.

As for Thatcher and HOTOL REL's testimony to the relevant Parliamentary committee makes interesting reading. The bottom line was a strong civil service *perception* that HOTOL would be Concorde2 and hence hugely expensive and traumatic to HMG (with concerns from those UK labs that built research satellites that it would strip their science budgets)

Couple that with the view of "No lame ducks," leading to the sell off of every state owned national asset and the view (partly form Concorde, which was pretty much a cost plus govt funded project) that "If it's so damm good why don't you put you *own* serious money into it?" (HOTOL was a *very* different beast and borderline viable. Look up its design to see how different)

So the guys set up REL and they did.

23 years later it looks like they might be vindicated.
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #618 on: 05/03/2012 06:30 am »
23 years later it looks like they might be vindicated.

Sheesh, you're easily pleased.. they've done one test, on the ground, without even a supersonic wind tunnel.

This is the first step on a very long journey, at least wait until they get something flying before declaring victory yeah?
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline douglas100

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread
« Reply #619 on: 05/03/2012 07:53 am »

The UK is the only country that had independent space launch and nuclear weapons. It gave up the space launch capability.

France had independent space launch before the UK.
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