The Skylon plane may be the Spacecraft of the Future

August 13th, 2014 | by

As the Space Program has changed over the years, so have the crafts. The overall design has largely remained the same for the past 20 years, but the Skylon spaceplane may soon change that.

The Skylon plane is the brainchild of a British designer by the name of Alan Bond. While we’re pretty sure he’s not kin to James, his spaceplane looks like it belongs in a Bond film. The plane is designed to withstand the rigors of flight and on requires minimal upkeep and repair. This is a huge deal when you consider how many disposable rockets we’ve sent into the atmosphere.

Skylon is built around the HOTOL system which allows the spaceplane to take off and land, just like a massive plane. The engine that powers it all is a Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine dubbed SABRE. The high-tech engine carries liquid hydrogen that it combines with air, and it saves weight by scooping up the O2 as it climbs through that atmosphere. Once it hits a certain height, the magic happens and the engine converts to liquid oxygen.

The Skylon space plane is still in the design and testing phase, but it’s expected to take its first test flights sometime in 2018 if all goes well. If you’d like to find out more about Skylon, be sure to hit up the video in the link below.

Via – CNN