A giant space plane that doubles as a supersonic jet is closer than ever to becoming a reality.
Skylon is a privately funded, single-stage-to-orbit vehicle designed to take off and land from a runway, delivering up to 33,000-pounds (15,000 kilograms) into orbit. That payload could be a satellite or crew module, its makers say. Under development by Abingdon, England-based aerospace company Reaction Engines Ltd., Skylon’s progress has interested the European Space Agency, and the small U.K. firm has revealed to SPACE.com its latest progress.
“We are now planning the next phase of development and raising the financing for it,” Mark Hempsell, the company’s future programs director, told SPACE.com.