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Space travel coming to an airport near you? Maybe, if Skylon keeps its cool

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Want to get from New York to Perth in under 4 hours, or maybe just head to outer space on a lark? Reaction Engines’ “Skylon” mach 5 spaceplane might be your chariot — or not. Its scheme of ingesting oxygen from the atmosphere instead of stowing it like a 50-year old modern multi-stage rocket sounds good, but the project’s fate may hang on critical new tests. Failure is still a possibility, but if the high-speed, superhot gases can be cooled enough for the hybrid Sabre engines to work, and if Reaction Engines Limited can secure another round of funding, punching your space-ticket could soon be a very real possibility.


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