Reaction Engines lands funding for SABRE

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Reaction Engines has been awarded a £3.9m grant from the UK Space Agency to support development of its SABRE space propulsion technology.

Reaction Engines
Science Minister Amanda Solloway with Reaction Engines team. Credit: Reaction Engines.

The SABRE (Synergetic Air Breathing Rocket Engine) technology promises developments in low-carbon space propulsion alongside other areas such as sustainable aviation fuels, atmospheric high-speed flight and prolonged electric vehicle battery life.

Building on earlier government backing for SABRE, the new grant includes £5.3m of activity that will be conducted over the next year, part funded by the UK Space Agency and Reaction Engines. It follows £50m of UK Space Agency funding for Reaction Engines since 2015 and will secure near-term technology demonstration in hydrogen combustion, thermal management and engine control technologies critical to the air-breathing core of SABRE systems.

It will also include strategic elements to explore competitiveness of prospective SABRE-Launch Systems while identifying collaborative scenarios associated with vehicle and customer driven routes to market, UK government said in a statement announcing the funding.

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Science minister Amanda Salloway and transport minister Rachel Maclean visited Reaction Engines’ site in Culham, Oxfordshire yesterday  (July 8, 2021) to discuss the UK’s future in sustainable space exploration and how the SABRE technology can respond to the challenge of driving Net Zero into the transportation industry.

“The innovative and disruptive nature of SABRE technology unlocks new ways of accessing space, furthering growth and sustainment of the future space economy,” said Mark Thomas, chief executive at Reaction Engines. 

“This refreshed UK commitment towards that long term vision is incredibly important for both Reaction Engines and the UK space industry. The ‘space technology’ we are developing is highly versatile and transformational, enabling applications here on Earth with a strong environmental focus.”