While several private companies have been working around the clock to be one of the most pivotal companies in the world to fund space travel, Reaction Engines Limited based out of Britain has taken a different approach to what they see is technology that could change the world. Their space plane, the Skylon Spacecraft is designed to be a single stage rocket that uses a combined cycle and air breathing to reach space. There are lots of technologies that are being looked at for spacecrafts within the private sector, but there are several reasons why this one make work best out of all of them.
Several components of NASA’s space shuttles were only usable one time. Rocket boosters, which were usually ejected from the craft in upper orbit only received one use before they had to be reconstructed. Additionally, each spacecraft was only designed to handle a little more than a dozen flights, at which point it had to be revamped or simply torn down. The Skylon spacecraft is capable of handling up to 200 flights, which significantly lowers the cost of a single payload, especially when the estimated cost for one spacecraft is going to be about 12 billion dollars.
As mentioned before, NASA’s shuttles used several stages to get the shuttle itself into orbit. The Skylon spacecraft eliminates the needs for several stages, and can do it in just one. The vehicle is designed to take off from an airplane runway, accelerating to faster than Mach 5 and climbing 16 miles before it needs to use a liquid oxygen take to take it into orbit.
The concept behind the Skylon spacecraft is that it would climb into space, release a payload up to 15 tons, then re-enter the atmosphere. At this point, Skylon would be significantly lighter, making the need for fuel almost absent upon re-entry.
The best part of the Skylon spacecraft is that the endangering of humans during transport is completely removed from the shuttle itself. Skylon will be completely driven from the ground, and no human will ever have to enter the craft before or during a flight to make sure that payloads are properly delivered