UK - Hypersonic Engine to Fly London to Sydney in 4 Hours

Arno Froese

Tourists could fly from Britain to Australia in just four hours by the 2030s with a new hypersonic engine being developed by UK scientists, the head of the UK Space Agency has said.

Reaction Engines, who are based in Oxfordshire, are in the process of building a hybrid hydrogen air-breathing rocket that will allow a plane to fly at Mach 5.4—more than twice the speed of Concorde—then speed up to Mach 25 in space.

Not only would the new ‘Sabre’ engine allow speedier journeys—with a flight between London and New York slashed to just over an hour—but the hydrogen/oxygen engine would be far greener and cheaper than current air travel.

Britain agreed to work more closely with Australia in a ‘space bridge’ partnership and Graham Turnock, the CEO of the UK Space Agency, said that it was appropriate the two countries were moving closer together just as technology was speeding up journey times.

Supersonic commercial flight—faster than the speed of sound—has not been available since Concorde was scrapped in 2003 following a catastrophic crash in 2000 in which 109 people died.

Hypersonic—which is five times the speed of sound—is even harder to achieve because traveling so fast causes the engine to melt. Fighter jets achieve it through a complex cooling system but their engines are large, expensive and inefficient.

Speaking at the UK Space Conference, in Newport, Shaun Driscoll, of Reaction Engines, said: “The main thing with Sabre is it’s like a hybrid of a rocket engine and an aero engine, so it allows a rocket to breathe air.

“Rockets really haven’t progressed in 70 years, whereas aero engines have become very efficient, so if you can combine an aero engine and a rocket you can have a very lightweight efficient propulsion system and basically create a space plane.

“The challenge of going very fast to escape the atmosphere you have to go hypersonic, and you generate a lot of heat traveling fast. Our pre-cooler takes air that arrives at 1,000 degrees centigrade and cools it down to zero in one twentieth of a second in something you can get your arms around.”

“Concorde had to use a conventional engine. The point of the reaction engine [is] it can switch from one that feeds on oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere to one that doesn’t require the feeding of oxygen, but that technology is the technology that would revolutionize space launch,” said Will Whitehorn, incoming President of UK Space., 25 September 2019

Arno's commentary

This hypersonic engine, still on the drawing board, promises to “be far greener and cheaper than current air travel.” When one compares the progress that has been made from the beginning of the 1900s until this day, these targets are not unrealistic. Global travel has increased tremendously. At this point in time, it is said that over 35,000 jet planes are circling planet earth, with an average of over 8 million people per day. Forbes reports that over 4.1 billion passengers flew on scheduled airline flights last year. That number keeps growing year by year.

Now, new technology aims to cut travel time by as much as 75%, thus enabling a much larger number of passengers to fly globally.

Many ask, what will the future bring? Our understanding, based on Bible prophecy: more riches, more luxury. But at the same time, more haste and insecurity, thus pointing to the Lord’s warning about the end times as recorded in Luke 21:26: “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

Read more from this author

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety