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UK funds ‘Space Plane’ that travels 25 times the speed of sound

If you hate long-haul flights, we’ve got some good news for you.

An aerospace company has received over £80 million to build a space plane that travels at 25 times the speed of sound.

Reaction Engines, a small company based in Oxfordshire, hopes to use the funding to build Skylon, a super-fast airplane of the future.

If successful, RE claims the journey from London to Sydney could be reduced to just four hours.

That’s all thanks to the company’s SABRE engine, a revolutionary rocket engine that can power an aircraft directly into space.

So who’s funding this pioneering gambit? The UK Government has committed to granting a huge £60 million investment to boost development.

The remaining £20.6 million comes courtesy of aerospace giant BAE Systems.

BAE Systems will acquire 20% of Reaction Engine’s share capital and enter a “working partner relationship” as part of the agreement.

This investment by BAE systems reflects the strength of British engineering and technology and our ambitions as a leading space nation,” says Jo Johnson MP, Minister for Universities and Science.

Johnson continues: “I am sure that this partnership will strengthen both organisations – helping to create more jobs in the UK’s growing space sector and ultimately to make the SABRE engine a reality.”

Related: 11 jawdropping videos that will make you want a drone

Reaction Engines and BAE Systems hope to complete a full-ground based test of the SABRE engine in 2020.

The Skylon plane itself is set for testing afterwards, although no exact timeframe has been given.

“Reaction Engines is a highly innovative UK company and our collaboration gives BAE Systems a strategic interest in a breakthrough air and space technology with significant future potential,” explains Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director, Programmes & Support, BAE Systems.

He adds: “Our partnership with Reaction Engines is part of our sustained commitment to investing in and developing prospective emerging technologies.”

Would you like to hop on board a super-fast space plane? Let us know in the comments.

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