Reaction Engines signs €1m study contract with ESA

Reaction Engines have signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for a €1m study into the next European Launch System.

The Skylon-based European Launch Service Operator contract has been finalised by the Launcher Directorate of the European Space Agency in Paris, France and work has started to study how the SKYLON spaceplane can meet Europe’s Space access demands in terms of cost, flexibility and responsiveness, from the early 2020’s.

The study will be concluded by the end of the year, with input from a number of companies.

Thales Alenia Space in Italy will be designing the SKYLON Upper Stage (SUS) systems for GEO satellite deployment; QinetiQ Space in Belgium are to study the various payload carriers within the vehicle’s payload bay to ensure maximum mission flexibility; London Economics are preparing the business model to independently assess economic case; Grafton Technology, based in the UK and supported by the civil engineering company, Jacobs, are studying the necessary spaceport facilities at Kourou for SKYLON.

Also supporting the study in the definition of the payload connections is 42 Technology Ltd, a product design and development consultancy based in the UK.