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Cometmaker

Skylon rocketplane development

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Reaction Engines Ltd. has received funding from the ESA for Skylon, an unpiloted, multi-purpose, reuseable spaceplane idea which has collected shelf dust for over a decade, and it is anticipated another 10-15 years are necessary before realization of their current plan.

I would have preferred it if Reaction Engines had received their funding for civilian operations and further R&D from VCs to develop a defensive weapon variant and secured contracts for space garbage cleanup. These would probably result in speedier and less expensive development than reliance on the ESA. They could have been a serious competitor to Qinetiq, and the Qinetiq business model improved upon.

Nevertheless, rub your EVA space suit gloves together with anticipation that the public may be provided tours as the rocketplane develops. For a quick, single-page read about Skylon history, there's astronautix.com.

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