A “spaceplane” that flies 25 times faster than the speed of sound has passed a testing milestone.
The hypersonic plane is so fast, it could jet from London to New York in less than 60 minutes and transport you from the UK to Australia in four hours.
Oxford-based Reaction Engines has been working with the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency, along with BAE Systems, to make the powerful aircraft.
Reaction Engines has recently been testing a “pre-cooler” for the plane, which is technology that would allow it to travel faster than ever before.
The pre-cooler is critical in the plane’s development because it’s required to stop the engine from melting by lowering the temperature of compressed air in the engine from more than 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit) to room temperature in one-twentieth of a second.
Thousands of tubes inside the pre-cooler, which are thinner than human hair, contain liquid helium that can cool the air as it rushes past them.