British spaceplane concept gets infusion of cash

The competition heats up: Reaction Engines, the British company developing a hybrid air-breathing rocket engine, today received obtained a significant funding boost from a new private partner as well as the British government.

The government has committed $60 million, while BAE has purchased 20% of the company with a commitment of an additional $20 million.

The craft Reaction Engines intends to eventually produce, known as Skylon, depends on the ability to cool an incoming airstream from 1,000 degrees C to minus 150 C almost instantly, at close to 1/100th of a second. That process doubles the technical limits of a jet engine, and would enable the craft to reach extremely fast speeds in Earth’s atmosphere, up to give times the speed of sound, before switching to a rocket engine to reach orbit.

Don’t start buying tickets however. They don’t expect to begin manned test flights for at least a decade

Rosetta special science issue

For those who want to read some interesting science papers, on Friday the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics published a special issue devoted to the results from Rosetta and Philae.

The issue includes 46 papers, many of which are open access and thus available at no cost to the general public. Many were published previously and include their press releases. These earlier results have already been posted here at BtB, but now they the results are gathered together in one place.

2016 Obamacare premiums to skyrocket 20%

Finding out what’s in it: Health insurance premiums in 2016 will rise more than 20%, three times more than predicted by Obama officials.

The discrepancy is because the government excluded price data for three of the four Obamacare health insurance plans when the officials issued their recent forecast claiming enrollees would face only a 7.5 percent average rate increase in 2016. When data for all four plans are included, premium costs will actually rise on average 20.3 percent next year.

In other words, Obama administration officials purposely manipulated the numbers to hide the actual rate increase. Then, not surprisingly, “The mainstream media was quick to embrace the 7.5 percent number, claiming it reflected the real-world experience of most Obamacare customers,” when it truth the number was a lie.

Another Obamacare co-op, the largest, collapses

Finding out what’s in it: New York’s Obamacare co-op, the country’s largest and the one that took the most government loans to get established, is now facing bankruptcy and collapse.

It is unclear if the co-op deliberately misled state regulators in its original filings, or if regulators found evidence of financial wrongdoing while they tried to close down the defunct non-profit. The co-op’s insolvency was announced September 25.

The New York Department of Financial Services, which regulates insurers in the Empire State, also revised its earlier announcement to the co-op’s 215,000 policyholders that they had until Dec. 30 to find new insurance coverage. Regulators now advise the co-op’s enrollees, many who are poor, that they have to secure new coverage within the next two weeks. DFS said in a statement late Friday that consumers “must take action to choose a new plan for the remainder of 2015 on or before November 15, 2015.”

It also appears that the co-op has been understating its bad financial condition to government officials. Other than that, things remain peachy-keen!

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