Reaction Engines is known for its Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), a hybrid engine blending jet and rocket technology that is capable of Mach 5 in air-breathing mode and Mach 25 in rocket mode for space flight. As part of the SABRE programme, Reaction Engines developed an ultra-lightweight heat exchanger that stops engine components from overheating at high speeds, thus improving access to hypersonic flight and space.
“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,” said Steve Nordlund, vice-president of Boeing HorizonX. The organisation invests in new ventures and startups, seeks unique business opportunities for Boeing’s aerospace technology, and assesses aerospace industry disruption.
Founded by three propulsion engineers in 1989, Reaction Engines produces robust technical designs for advanced heat exchangers, air-breathing engines, and the vehicles they could power. These capabilities may lead to high-speed point-to-point transport that is cost-effective and sustainable.
“Boeing is a world-leader in many fields, bringing invaluable expertise in hypersonic research and space systems. I am thrilled and honoured that Boeing HorizonX has chosen Reaction Engines as its first UK investment,” said Mark Thomas, CEO of Reaction Engines. “This is a very exciting step that will contribute to our efforts to develop a commercial technology business and accelerate opportunities to further the future of air and space travel through SABRE technology.”
Sir Michael Arthur, president, Boeing Europe and managing director, Boeing UK and Ireland added: “This is an exciting time to partner with cutting-edge British innovators, and a reflection of the impressive technology coming out of the UK’s aerospace industry today. Investments in future technologies, such as Reaction Engines, support the prosperity of the UK and ensure we meet our customer’s future needs.”
Boeing HorizonX Ventures participated in this £26.5 million Series B funding round alongside Rolls-Royce Plc and BAE Systems. The Boeing HorizonX Ventures investment portfolio is made up of companies specialising in technologies for aerospace and manufacturing innovations, including autonomous systems, energy storage, advanced materials, augmented reality systems and software, machine learning, hybrid-electric propulsion and Internet of Things connectivity.
(Reaction Engines image above) Artist’s impression of the release of an upper-stage from a next-generation SABRE-powered reusable launch vehicle. The development of the SABRE technology will enable low-cost, high-cadence space access.