Boeing Invests In Hypersonic Engine


HorizonX, the Boeing “innovation cell” that launched about a year ago, has invested in its first U.K. company, Reaction Engines Ltd., Boeing announced on Wednesday. Reaction is known for its “Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine” (Sabre), a hybrid engine that blends jet and rocket technology. The engine is capable of Mach 5 in air-breathing mode and Mach 25 in rocket mode for space flight, Boeing said. “As Reaction Engines unlocks advanced propulsion that could change the future of air and space travel, we expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing’s pursuit of hypersonic flight,” saidSteve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX.

Reaction Engines was founded by three propulsion engineers in 1989. According to the Reaction Engines website, “Sabre is at heart a rocket engine designed to power aircraft directly into space (single-stage to orbit) to allow reliable, responsive and cost-effective space access, and in a different configuration to allow aircraft to cruise at high speeds (five times the speed of sound) within the atmosphere.” The engine achieves this goal by operating in two rocket modes: initially in air-breathing mode and subsequently in conventional rocket mode. These capabilities may lead to high-speed point-to-point transport that is cost-effective and sustainable, according to the company website.