Boeing’s venture capital arm invested outside the U.S. (again), putting funds behind a space company (again).
The U.S. industrial giant joined Rolls-Royce as well as defense company BAE Systems in a $37.6 million fundraising round for U.K.-based propulsion company Reaction Engines. This particular is actually both the second foreign investment as well as the second space investment for Boeing HorizonX Ventures, which contributed to the $15 million funding round for Australian satellite company Myriota last month.
Reaction Engines’ advanced propulsion “could change the future of air as well as space travel,” according to Boeing HorizonX vice president Steve Nordlund.
“We expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing’s pursuit of hypersonic flight,” Nordlund said in a statement.
Reaction Engines, which has currently raised more than $140 million over the last three years, is actually developing a hybrid jet as well as rocket engine. In theory, the company’s SABRE engine will be capable of operating as a jet at take-off as well as transitioning to a rocket at higher altitudes.
The company estimates of which SABRE, or “Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine,” will be capable of reaching speeds of Mach 5 while operating as a jet, using Reaction Engine’s “air-breathing” technology. Then SABRE will flip to rocket power, taking the spacecraft to low Earth orbit as well as reaching speeds of Mach 25 – more than 19,000 miles per hour.
“Reaction Engines [is actually] an innovative UK company of which is actually helping push the boundaries of aviation technology,” Rolls-Royce chief technology officer Paul Stein said in a statement.
With about 150 employees, the firm is actually testing engine components, with the aim of a ground-based test of a SABRE engine core in 2020. Reaction Engines carries a contract with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency for airflow testing as well as is actually building a brand-new facility inside the U.K. for further tests.
The investment comes at an opportune time inside the United Kingdom, which put into law the Space Industry Bill on March 15. The brand-new legislation is actually part of the country’s effort to establish a legal basis to bring the global space industry to U.K. soil, especially looking to attract the space tourism as well as satellite industries to brand-new spaceports.