New furnace to help SABRE engine

The Reaction Engines (REL) team are celebrating the installation of a new £1.5 million state-of-the-art high vacuum furnace to assist in the development of their SABRE Engine Demonstrator Programme.


Jointly funded by REL’s private capital and the European Space Agency, representatives from the UK Space Agency, Department of BIS and the European Space Agency recently visited REL’s new pre-cooler manufacturing centre in Building E1 at Culham Science Centre.


The furnace is capable of achieving temperatures approaching 1200°C with a base pressure of one ten billionth of an atmosphere

(10-10atm) and will be employed for a series of complex braze trials.


Simon Hanks, Head of Advanced Manufacturing, REL, explains:

“The furnace represents enabling technology that is virtually unique in the UK and has been designed by REL for the production of pre-cooler module assemblies which form part of our heat exchanger technology for the SABRE Engine.”


The furnace has an internal diameter of nearly 3m, and a total internal volume of 25m3 providing REL with the means to build world-leading heat exchanger technology at Culham Science Centre.


Simon concludes:

“With efforts underway to demonstrate the performance of the full SABRE engine cycle on a static test bed, the pre-cooler manufacturing capability will form a critical part of that undertaking.”