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UK Skylon spaceplane passes key review

The United Kingdom’s Skylon spaceplane has passed a key European Space Agency review.

I’ve seen hundreds of these kinds of stories over the years. Skylon looks cool, and would be revolutionary if built. We shall see if it actually happens.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Blair Ivey

    Given the British history in the mechanical arts, it must be very frustrating for them to have to basically sit out the Space Age. The engine design looks interesting, but there’s a world of difference between a lab bench and flight hardware. They’ll also have to find a way to prevent re-entry gases from entering the engine nacelles.

  • Kelly Starks

    I’ld agree that SkyLon has been aronud a long time, and always getting aproval but no money.

    I found his mention of “private investors” significant. And I have heard that with the US exiting the space age – Britain see’s now as a great time to leep frog everonge and possition itself as the world leader in space travel, and by implication aerospace.

    Guess we’ll see, but at worst their space agency and investors just looking at this puts them way ahead of anything the US gov or commercials are doing in space.

    I’m not that in love with the skylon design, I think the DOD’s Blackswift, or the EELV replacement RLV’s under study look more promising – but with NASA looking likely to eiather be flying Soyuz or Orion until the 2020s – were obviously not a competitor anymore now.

    Blair Ivey says:
    >=== They’ll also have to find a way to prevent re-entry gases from entering the engine nacelles.

    Actually not. The Skylons low wing loading should keep the exause gases pretty cool. Assent would generate more heat. Eiather way the engines, especially with a little flow through the precoolers, should have no issues.

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