It will be capable of Mach 5.4 speed within the Earth’s atmosphere and Mach 25 in space, according to its manufacturer, Reaction Engines. “The positive conclusion of our preliminary design review marks a major milestone in SABRE development. It confirms the test version of this revolutionary new class of engine is ready for implementation,” said Mark Ford, head of the ESA’s propulsion engineering department. If the engine is successful, it could also propel reusable vehicles into orbit without the need for multiple propellant stages required for conventional rockets.
The test will determine if a component can stand up to the 1,000°C expected to be seen by the Sabre engine during flight. It’s been more than 30 years since the ancestor of the SABRE engine began development, with significant investments by Boeing, Rolls-Royce, ESA, and UKSA.