Reaction Engines is a UK-based company formed in 1989 to design and develop the technologies needed for a new class of innovative hypersonic propulsion system – the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE™).
Reaction Engines, Inc. has completed a new high-temperature airflow test facility where it is currently running a test program to validate the performance of the pre-cooler heat exchanger technology. Located at Colorado Air and Space Port near Watkins, Colorado, the test facility will be capable of exposing the pre-cooler test article (HTX) to high-temperature airflow conditions in excess of 1000°C that are expected during high-speed flights up to Mach 5.
By signing a letter of intent, Adams County’s Colorado Air and Space Port and Japanese-based PD AeroSpace, LTD., have established a formal relationship. In this arrangement, the two will work together to explore the possibilities of the development and expansion of PD AeroSpace, LTD.’s commercial activities at Colorado Air and Space Port.
PD AeroSpace, LTD. is a spacecraft manufacturer with business offices in Nagoya, Japan and a research and development facility in Hekinan City. PD AeroSpace is developing a reusable sub-orbital spaceplane for micro-gravity testing, space tourism, and eventually point-to-point transportation. Their spacecraft uses a patented propulsion system with dual jet and rocket technology to achieve sub-orbital flight. The company intends to use Colorado Air and Space Port for the horizontal launch of this space plane.
“There was an instant connection between PD AeroSpace and our delegation through our presentations and tour of their facility in Hekinan City,” said Commissioner Steve O’Dorisio. “Similar to our operation at Colorado Air and Space Port, they (PD AeroSpace) are rapidly accelerating their pace of innovation with ambitious plans and the technical expertise to achieve their goals of operating in Colorado and around the world.”
Located at the former Front Range Airport in Watkins, Colorado Air and Space Port is the country’s newest spaceport accommodating vehicles making horizontal takeoffs and landings. CASP was issued a site operator’s license by the Federal Aviation Administration on August 17, 2018. It will serve as America’s hub for commercial space transportation, research, and development.
On June 15, 2021, Dawn Aerospace (Dawn) and CASP announced an MOU, which lays out a series of future interactions that are mutually expected to occur between the two entities, but are not legally binding. Future actions include Dawn establishing a presence at CASP, working with CASP to create a relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and, eventually, conducting test flights and spaceplane launches.
“In order to provide unprecedented access to space, we’ve pursued technologies that will operate much like a fleet of aircraft – taking off and landing at airports globally,” said James Powell, Dawn co-founder. “We’re pleased to work with the supportive Adams County Board to bring our rocket-powered suborbital plane, and longer-term our orbital spaceplane, to Colorado.”
In Dec. 2020 Dawn was granted an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority to fly from a conventional airport. Dawn’s Mk-II Aurora is their latest spaceplane iteration. Mk-III Aurora, a two-stage orbital system, is currently in development. Alongside the testing and development ongoing on the company’s spaceplanes, Dawn provides in-space satellite propulsion to its customers globally. Dawn has successfully seen eight of it’s in-space propulsion units launched in 2021 on Vega, Soyuz, and SpaceX vehicles.
Dawn Aerospace was awarded the 2020 Hi-Tech Start-up Company of the Year at the 2020 New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards for developing technology to access space in a more scalable and sustainable way than is currently possible with traditional rockets.