Tuesday, 19 April 2011

To boldly go

Putting stuff into space is an expensive (and dangerous) business. Let's face it, if you really had the choice, which would you prefer, taking off plane-style down a runway, or balanced on top of a tall, thin, pencil-balanced-on-its-end style structure? For that matter, the technology used to get stuff into orbit is very poor on the environmental side. Okay, hydrogen/oxygen engines are green, but the way various stages of the rocket are discarded is a tad wasteful.

When the space shuttle was introduced, the idea was that this was a reusable and hence cheaper and less wasteful vehicle - but it still relies on those huge discarded boosters and fuel tanks.

So if you really could do a plane-style rocket that could take you properly into orbit, rather than a Virgin Galactic sub-orbital flights, it would be quite something. Pie in the sky? Well, yes, it is right now. But a British company called Reaction Engines believes they have the technological concept to make it possible.

You can read more about it here, provided you have a high tolerance for the word 'amazing'.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Brian, for keeping me up to date; this looks like a throwback to Thunderbirds via Concorde and an american fighter jet of some description.....

    ....there doesn't seem to be much innovation here unless I missed the point about reusing the engines

    Will it ever get into the air I wonder..?