Project Skylon: A Giant British Space Plane Concept (Gallery)

Skylon Soars Into Space

Adrian Mann

Skylon is a British space plane under development by the U.K.-based Reaction Engines, Ltd. The space plane concept vehicle consists of a slender fuselage containing propellant tankage and payload bay, with delta wings attached midway along the fuselage carrying the SABRE engines in axisymmetric nacelles on the wingtips. The vehicle takes off and lands horizontally on its own undercarriage.

Skylon in the Hangar

Adrian Mann

Skylon, a concept spacecraft from Reaction Engines Ltd., is an entirely reusable single stage-to-orbit launch vehicle, based on revolutionary engine technology.

Skylon Space Plane Under Jet Power

Adrian Mann

The Skylon concept space plane payload bay can be used for a wide variety of missions, and can carry up to 16.5 tons to low-Earth orbit.

Skylon in Orbit

Adrian Mann

The Skylon concept space plane payload bay can be used for a wide variety of missions, and can carry up to 16.5 tons to low-Earth orbit.

Skylon vs. Space Station

Adrian Mann

With a Personnel and Logistics module in the payload bay, cargo, supplies and crews could be delivered to the International Space Station by the proposed Skylon vehicle, extending the outpost's useful life.

Skylon and Space Construction

Adrian Mann

The concept of an Orbital Base Station (OBS) and Skylon was studied to demonstrate that large, highly modular structures could be built in low-Earth orbit, providing accommodation for the crews, protection from orbital debris, continuous internal lighting and propellant storage. Such a facility would enable large ships for the exploration of the moon and Mars to be constructed.

Skylon: Space Truck

Adrian Mann

The proposed Troy mission is envisaged to be performed in two parts: an unmanned, precursor mission, and the later manned mission. Using the Skylon space plane, the elements for the Troy ships are delivered to an Orbital Base Station, where the components are assembled.

Skylon at Work

Adrian Mann

With additional modules, a refuelling base could be constructed for ‘Fluyt’ orbital transfer vehicles by the Skylon space planes.

Skylon at Space Hotel

Adrian Mann

With the addition of two inflatable modules, an orbiting hotel could be created for up to 20 guests by the concept space plane Skylon.

Skylon's SABRE Engine

Adrian Mann

The key to Skylon's success will be the SABRE engine, which employs a revolutionary heat exchanger to chill the incoming air before it is fed to the engines. A Hybrid Air-breathing / Rocket Engine, SABRE represents a huge advance over LACE Technology.

Skylon: Satellite Taxi

Adrian Mann

Using a recoverable upper stage, the concept starship Skylon space plane could deliver communications satellites to geosynchronous orbit, and then retrieve the upper stage and return it to Earth to be reused for further missions.

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