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Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!

Posted by: Lourens - Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:20 pm
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Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool! 
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Post Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:20 pm
Looks like the boffins at Reaction Engines have done it!. They've built a working intercooler that can cool incoming air quickly enough to then use it as propellant in a rocket engine, reducing the need to bring (heavy) oxygen along on the craft. This is the trickiest part of building an air-breathing rocket engine, so it's quite the break-through. The BBC has a piece as well.

Imagine what would happen if they got Skylon built, and at the same time SpaceX managed a reusable F9/FH?

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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:32 pm
Always liked these guys since we spoke with them - viewtopic.php?f=21&t=8944&p=48473#p48473

Sooo many people slag them off on the BBC site, always saying it is a stolen idea that cant work. I hope they do it!! They are brilliant!

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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:24 pm
Welcome to the future!

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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:52 pm
Yeah, we'll see. Getting the "front half", the intercooler, to work isn't the same as a viable propulsion system.


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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:22 pm
James, your pessimism is most displeasing to me. If we hast not seen the success of Spacex, and such rocket companies as there may be, perhaps t'would be reasonable. But such is not the case. No, an optimistic outlook is what is required here - vive l'cool rocket plane!

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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:43 pm
SpaceX is quite conservative and conventional in both it's technical and business models. It's really just a refinement and more efficient employment of what has been done for decades. Probably the reason that they have been able to find the investors and people to make real flying hardware.

While pessimistic, I don't wish Reaction ill for their project.


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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:56 pm
True, true. But a rocket plane is cooler than a rocket. And that is the most important thing, anyway.

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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:59 am
While the idea is cool, and I really hope it works out, it's functionality is limited to earth orbit, while SpaceX can potentially go to Mars, without all kinds of intermediate stages in LEO.

But I think there are room for more than one contestant.
SpaceX is still my favorite though, mainly because their stuff is flying! And they keep putting out new cool stuff.


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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:12 pm
SAN wrote:
While the idea is cool, and I really hope it works out, it's functionality is limited to earth orbit, while SpaceX can potentially go to Mars, without all kinds of intermediate stages in LEO.

But I think there are room for more than one contestant.
SpaceX is still my favorite though, mainly because their stuff is flying! And they keep putting out new cool stuff.


Seriously, I read somewhere that Elon Musk is talking about 80,000 people settling Mars each year! If it was anyone else . . . But has been so successful, and he has both the money and the talent, who knows?

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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:35 am
SAN wrote:
While the idea is cool, and I really hope it works out, it's functionality is limited to earth orbit,


The hardest part and biggest expense of going to space right now is getting to LEO. That is what Skylon is designed to address.

Once you get low cost to LEO down, everything else opens up. Musk's Mars plans, just like everyone else's, relies upon that before they become reality.


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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:20 am
While I do really greatly desire all the capabilities that the skylon aspire to, I'm very skeptical (skeptical not pessimistic) about it's abilitis to achieve them. I humbly admit my ignorance on the proposed exact working of the craft but it's difficult to believe that wings so small could generate enough lift to get the plane off the ground. And to nitpick isn't an "air breathing rocket" just a ram jet? The foundation of the Skylons success seems to be the engines and until a full scale working model is constructed it's still just a dream. A worthy one though and I hope they keep pursuing it.


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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:03 pm
JamesG wrote:
The hardest part and biggest expense of going to space right now is getting to LEO. That is what Skylon is designed to address.

Once you get low cost to LEO down, everything else opens up. Musk's Mars plans, just like everyone else's, relies upon that before they become reality.
Sure, but SpaceX's approach solves that, as well as having the capability to go much further. But don't get me wrong, I think the Skylon is an awesome project.
lightningbob wrote:
And to nitpick isn't an "air breathing rocket" just a ram jet?
Yes, I guess so, the difference is that this version functions as both a ram jet and a rocket.


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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:35 pm
SAN wrote:
Sure, but SpaceX's approach solves that, as well as having the capability to go much further. But don't get me wrong, I think the Skylon is an awesome project.


Skylon is the "better mousetrap". If they can get it working, it will be fully reusable with only the costs of consumables (and the amortization of development and building) between launches.


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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:48 pm
JamesG wrote:
Skylon is the "better mousetrap".
Sorry, but I don't know what that means?
JamesG wrote:
If they can get it working, it will be fully reusable with only the costs of consumables (and the amortization of development and building) between launches.
SpaceX is going for fully reusable as well, though I guess the faring will not be reusable, but I even read something about moving the unpressurized trunk of the dragon into the capsule it self, which I guess means the solar panels as well (but not quite sure). In that case the Falcon 9 with the Dragon should be just as reusable, as far as I can tell, though it would need some assembly before the next launch, unless they can land the second stage on top of the first, but I don't think they are going to do that just yet. :-P

The Skylon would probably be a lot better for bringing down stuff like satellites or perhaps mined minerals, but at the moment that does not seem that relevant.

Just remembered there is an intermediate section between the first and second stage on the F9, I don't know if they have any visions for that.


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Post Re: Skylon/SABRE intercooler actually cool!   Posted on: Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:29 am
SAN wrote:
I don't know what that means?


Heh. Sorry, I guess that is a bit of an Americanism. It's a reference to a pseudo-quotation of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
"If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door."

Quote:
SpaceX is going for fully reusable as well,


But only the kind of reusable as the Shuttle STS. You get the components back, but you basically have to completely disassemble, overhaul, and rebuild the stack again. About the only part worth doing that for are the engines. For everything else it's cheaper to toss in the ocean and build a new one. It is a drawback of the conventional rocket configuration, and SpaceX is going to have to invest in a completely different architecture to get true reusability.

Skylon is being designed from the beginning to have a more "airliner" like turn around. All of the systems that have the next-generation (20-30 years down the road)as their target have this as a feature.

Quote:
Dragon should be just as reusable, as far as I can tell, though it would need some assembly before the next launch


I believe Dragon capsules get completely torn down to the pressure hull and rebuilt with a new TPS and heatshield for each flight.

Quote:
The Skylon would probably be a lot better for bringing down stuff like satellites or perhaps mined minerals, but at the moment that does not seem that relevant.


By the time Skylon is ready for service, that might be more valuable than launching.


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