back to article ESA builds air-breathing engine that works in space

The European Space Agency has hailed the successful test of an air-breathing engine that works in space. The engines don’t need the oxygen found in air to burn. Instead, as the ESA has explained here, the idea is to collect air, compress it, give it a charge and then squirt it out to provide thrust. The engine has no moving …

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    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: sustainable?

      Use them as wings! Simples.

    2. caffeine addict

      Re: sustainable?

      Presumably you don't need to fire this kind of thing all the time, in which case you could use relatively small solar panels that charge a battery then burst energy into the engine. If it's infrequent enough, you could angle the panels inline with the flow and accept that you would get a lot of suboptimal charging.

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: sustainable?

      Maybe the panels need to be shaped like an aerofoil and given the right angle of attack...

    4. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

      Re: sustainable? - Air catchers ?

      If the solar arrays are in front of the engine and angled correctly they could feed more air into the engine possibly doubling the thrust for a given size of engine.

  1. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    Should use Space Junk as propellant

    Grab bits and pieces of Space Junk, grind them up and fire them out the back. Aim them so that they'll hit the atmosphere. Win-win.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Song of the lonely (air-breathing) cubesat

    It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere

    I'm all alone, more or less

    Let me fly far away from here

    Fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun

  3. unwarranted triumphalism

    This neatly exposes the lie of so-called 'space'. Another defeat for the scientards.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      *Not sure if serious and/or sarcastic*

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "*Not sure if serious and/or sarcastic*"

        Judging by recent posting history, he's serious.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Either painfully ignorant or trolling. Trolls are lucid occasionally. Hell, even amfM is lucid occasionally!

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re Painfully Ignorant Trolling .... in the Advancement of Arrogance. Surely a Sin Anywhere

            Either painfully ignorant or trolling. Trolls are lucid occasionally. Hell, even amfM is lucid occasionally! .... jake

            jake, hi, how's it hanging?

            If one be truthfully advised but choose not to accept that amfM is always default lucid, would painfully ignorant disagreeable trolls be created and identify themselves with commentary to the contrary on matters then which are clearly misunderstood or not more widely known of yet .... yet to be discovered/revealed/uncovered/demystified/realised/presented?

            And would such Presentations and Realisations be of the Future in the Here and Now, or in the Future, and be both such Presentations and Realisations from the Future with no baggage or hindrance from the Past to cast Shadows of Doubt on Current Augmented Virtualised Reality Direction Flows?

            From where and how do you imagine the Future arrives? Created out of nothing nowhere and phormed by no one terrestrial on Earth?

            That would then surely suggest at least two possible options, which are not themselves mutually exclusive, for either along with the other is just as likely as not the Actuality and AI Singularity. Your Future is an Alien Construct and/or a Product and Result of Communication with Global Operating Devices in Command and Control of Advanced IntelAIgent Media Channels with COSMIC Classified Chunnels Securing Secret Services and Servers.

            Earthlings/Humans are defaulted/programmed/brainwashed to believe what Media tells/shows them, are they not? Quite why Media would not then Create and Paint a More Perfect Beta Picture for Population and Enjoyment is then certainly because of a catastrophic lack of in-house intelligence.

            The Posit here clearly is ..... Greater Beta Intelligence for More Perfect Picture Painting with Advanced IntelAIgents is readily available for Co-Opting from elsewhere.

            I trust on this occasion there is no ambiguity present and everything is pretty lucid.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Re Painfully Ignorant Trolling .... in the Advancement of Arrogance. Surely a Sin Anywhere

              Reveal? Uncover?,'Tis shows neither love, nor LOVE, and is equal to downshift oneself from the Cards to mere Players.

              1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                Re: Re Painfully Ignorant Trolling .... in the Advancement of Arrogance. Surely a Sin Anywhere

                Howdy, Anonymous Coward,

                Here is a small taster and precursor of what is to be presented for discovery.

                Regarding any Reveal and/or Uncovering of State and Non Stated Quantum Communications Secrets and Prime Cards to be Played in a Greater IntelAIgent Game, is IT and AI Always Ably Protected and Preserved and Reserved for SMARTR Key Players to Use with Impunity, whenever the Tales Told and Enabled and Easily Proven to be True are more widely dismissed and generally treated as Unbelievable ..... just too fantastic to believe is so simply real ...... as may well be the case for many travelling and pausing for thought and commentary through here.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan

        *Not sure if serious and/or sarcastic*

        Or, using Occams Razor, just a somewhat ineffectual troll.

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          *Not sure if serious and/or sarcastic*

          Or, using Occams Razor, just a somewhat ineffectual troll.

          but, to be fair, a pretty dedicated one if he gets to 'Bronze vulture' status

      3. unwarranted triumphalism

        Username checks out, as they sat on Reddit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This neatly exposes the lie of so-called 'space'."

      What lie? The space is that which is not occupied by substantial bodies like stars, planets, asteroids, and comets. Now if you had said "vacuum of space" - then you would have possibly been on safer ground. However a vacuum vacated by gases is always a relative pressure - and does not signify a (probably hypothetical) total vacuum.

      I suspect that if you lower the pressure far enough inside any container then its surface molecules will start to escape to occupy that space. That's why you can't make a decent cup of tea on a high mountain - the water boils at too low a temperature at the lower air pressure.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "vacuum of space"

        Which one would that be?

        A vacuum is generally regarded as starting when at the level where air molecules stop colliding with each other but that's still a few million per cubic metre.

        The one at ISS altitudes is far better than _anything_ we can produce on the ground (and yet atmospheric drag is a substantial problem)

        The one at GEO altitudes is a bit better than that (Earth's atmosphere is generally regarded as existing out to around 1000km, despite being more-or-less vacuum above the Karman line.)

        The one in "interplanetery" space is a bit better still, but it's still inside the sun's atmopshere by some measurements.

  4. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Dear Reaction Engines,

    Thank you for your comments and input over the last 30 years. Your services are no longer required.

    ESA.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Dear Reaction Engines,

      Building an engine that can keep a craft ALREADY moving at 7 km/s at that speed in something resembling an atmosphere and building an engine that can accelerate a craft from 0 to 7 km/s is quite a bit different.

  5. Martin Budden Silver badge

    Aircraft

    So technically it will be an aircraft flying at very very high altitude, not a satellite in orbit. Right?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Aircraft

      By international convention, the Kármán line (100km above sea level) marks the difference between "atmosphere" and "space" for this kind of thing.

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