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Skylon: Britain's future of aviation

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SKYLON is an unpiloted, reusable spaceplane intended to provide reliable, responsive and cost effective access to space. Currently in early development phase, the vehicle will be capable of transporting 15 tonnes of cargo into space. It is the use of SABRE ’s combined air-breathing and rocket cycles that enables a vehicle that can take off from a runway, fly direct to earth orbit and return for a runway landing, just like an aircraft.

SKYLON uses SABRE engines in air-breathing mode to accelerate from take-off to Mach 5.5 which allows 1,250 tonnes of atmospheric air to be captured and used in the engines, saving the need to carry 250 tonnes of oxygen in propellant tanks. At Mach 5.5 and 25 kilometres altitude the SABRE engine transitions to its rocket engine mode, using liquid oxygen stored on board SKYLON , to complete its ascent to orbit at a speed of Mach 25. In this space access application, SABRE engines need an operational life of only 55 hours to achieve 200 flights, significantly less than the 10,000s of hours needed for conventional jet engines.

Mark Hempsell is Future Programmes Director of Reaction Engines Ltd. He was appointed to the Board of in 2008.

Mark formerly worked as a Spacecraft Systems Engineer for British Aerospace Space Division and as Senior Lecturer in Astronautics at the University of Bristol, with significant expertise in satellite programmes and space infrastructure. Mark is a past President of the British Interplanetary Society and a former Editor of the Society‘s Journal.

Time: Refreshments served from 18.30. Talk starts at 19.00. Ends around 20.30 following questions and discussion.

Venue: Lecture Room 4, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ (directions). There is limited parking available on site.

Free to attend. Registration not required. All welcome.

This talk is open to the public and is suitable for students and engineers. You are encouraged to bring with you colleagues, friends and members of your family who are interested in engineering, rocket engines and space.

A poster to advertise this event can be downloaded from the event website at http://tinyurl.com/q6zket7

This talk is part of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (Cambridgeshire Area) series.

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