Single-stage-to-orbit

July 14, 2014 - 8:10am
Supersonic business aircraft such as this concept from Spike Aerospace could  be carrying passengers on transoceanic routes within six to eight years.

After Sir Richard Branson launches the first passenger flight of his Virgin Galactic space venture, possibly later this year, he’s indicated that he will turn his attention to developing a supersonic commercial aircraft that can transit from New York to Tokyo (10,800 km; 5,800 nm) in “less than an hour.” He envisions an orbital aircraft, which could reach speeds up to 30,000 kph (16,200 knots).

June 17, 2013 - 12:25am

A major breakthrough in heat exchanger technology has removed one of the greatest obstacles to development of an air-breathing rocket engine slated to enable spaceflight by the Skylon reusable spaceplane.

UK company Fine Tubes (Hall 2B E170) has managed to produce 2,000 kilometers of ultra-fine, lightweight nickel alloy tubing necessary to enable the heat exchangers at the heart of the new engine to cool airstreams from over 1000 degrees C to minus 150 degrees C in less than 1/100th of a second. The wall thickness of the tubing is half the diameter of a human hair.

 
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