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ESA contract for hypersonic engine research

The competition heats up: The European Space Agency has signed a research contract for 10 million euros with Reaction Engines to build a ground-based prototype of its hypersonic rocket engine.

While ground testing is always necessary, I am not sure what they gain by building a solely ground-based prototype. Hypersonic engines use the oxygen in the atmosphere, much like jet engines. Their operation however is dependent on altitude as well as the speed in which they are traveling, neither of which is easily tested on the ground.

This project is also one part of the United Kingdom’s new space agency program.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

One comment

  • Edward

    “Hypersonic engines use the oxygen in the atmosphere, much like jet engines. Their operation however is dependent on altitude as well as the speed in which they are traveling, neither of which is easily tested on the ground.”

    This is not a typical RAMJET or SCRAMJET
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scramjet

    From ReactionEngines’s web site:
    http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/sabre_howworks.html (2-minute embedded video)

    “SABRE is the first engine to achieve this goal by operating in two rocket modes: initially in air-breathing mode and subsequently in conventional rocket mode:

    “- Air breathing mode – the rocket engine sucks in atmospheric air as a source of oxygen (as in a typical jet engine) to burn with its liquid hydrogen fuel in the rocket combustion chamber

    “- Conventional rocket mode – the engine is above the atmosphere and transitions to using conventional on-board liquid oxygen.

    “In both modes the thrust is generated using the rocket combustion chamber and nozzles. This is made possible through a synthesis of elements from rocket and gas turbine technology.”

    Reaction Engines’ SABRE engines ingest O2 while in the atmosphere in order to feed rocket engines, then convert to on-board O2 tanks once the atmosphere becomes too thin.

    In the SABRE design, there is compression at the air intake, but they may be planning to simulate this on the ground, or perhaps they intend to use wind tunnel testing to simulate the high speeds at altitude. They are not clear about the test plan, the test facilities, or the test design.

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