Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

This hypersonic space plane is going to change travel forever

bae1.jpg

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No - it's a SABRE jet, the future of all intercontinental travel that could take you anywhere in the world in four hours. 

BAE Systems (nothing to do with your crush) has announced an investment of £20.6 million in UK company Reaction Engines - who have created a single engine capable of taking an aircraft from a runway to speeds of over five times the speed of sound in the atmosphere.

Once a SABRE-powered aircraft is high enough, it can then switch to a "rocket mode of operation", allowing spaceflight at speeds equivalent to 25 times the speed of sound. Which is really bloody quick.

"But how does it work?!" you may well ponder. We don't really know, but here's a brilliant infographic and video that helps dumb the tech down for those of us without a degree in rocket science.

So, air goes in one end, some science stuff happens (the challenge is keeping air cool - with the SABRE cooling inrushing air to about -140 degrees C in a hundreth of a second), and you travel from London anywhere in the world in four hours.

Four. Hours. 

We'll have to wait though - if everything goes according to plan the first ground-based tests will take place in 2020, and unmanned tests expected in 2025.

Related

1.jpg

Here's what happens to your body when you die

f-society.jpg

How to make sure your phone and computer are unhackable

iphone2.jpg

The iPhone 7 Could Look Very Different

anaconda.jpg

Boa constrictors don't kill you in the way you thought say scientists

google_photos.png

You can erase all traces of your ex with this new Google feature

railgun3.jpg

This Guy Made A Working Plasma Gun That Shoots Stuff Out At 560mph

Comments

More

Everything we know about the new Nokia 3310

The brick is back

by Matt Tate
24 Feb 2017

20 Things You'll Only Understand If You Owned A Nokia 3310

14 Feb 2017

The Nokia 3310 is getting a relaunch (yes, really)

The return of the King

by Gary Ogden
14 Feb 2017

The new iPhone looks like it's going to have wireless charging

A huge move from Apple

by Dave Fawbert
13 Feb 2017

Star Trek fans have a new reason to buy an Amazon Echo

They've done what you all wanted

24 Jan 2017

Watch Steve Jobs launch first iPhone 10 years ago

Today marks 10 years since Steve Jobs presented the world with this iconic product, but it could have been so different

09 Jan 2017

The best gadgets to launch at the biggest tech conference in the world

Christmas 2017 can't come early enough

by Joe Ellison
05 Jan 2017

16 best fitness gadgets to help you get into shape for 2017

Gadgets to get your sweat on with

by David Cornish
03 Jan 2017

An awesome paper cycling helmet wins Dyson design award

Only £4, and it'll save your life

by David Cornish
17 Nov 2016

Netflix finally confirms it's working on downloadable content

It's official, people

by David Cornish
03 Nov 2016