Airplanes that also travel in space to be 'the holy grail' of aeronautics

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Washington, Oct 12 (ANI): A British firm is working on an airplane that would also travel in space.

Reaction Engines is constructing a prototype of a critical piece of its spaceplane's technology, which will be tested on a conventional jet engine.

The ultimate objective is Skylon, an unpiloted, air-breathing vehicle that takes off and lands on a runway, and can travel beyond Earth's atmosphere.

Rather than using expensive rocket motors that have to be discarded or refurbished after every flight, Skylon is powered by two hybrid engines that can use oxygen from the air when available or liquid oxygen when there is no air. Its propellant is liquid hydrogen.

"It's the holy grail of aeronautics," Discovery News quoted Richard Varvill, Reaction Engines technical director and a company co-founder, as saying.

Skylon is being designed to carry cargo and satellites into orbit, but it can be adapted to fly a pod for passengers as well. (ANI)

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