Fundamental Analysis and Design Study of Integration of Precoolers into Advanced Air-Breathing Propulsion Systems for Reusable Launch Vehicles

Lead Participant: Reaction Engines Limited


Precooled hydrogen fuelled hypersonic engines offer the capability to achieve Mach 5 terrestrial transport and enable single stage to orbit reusable launch vehicles. This concept is set to revolutionise access to space, potentially delivering a ten-fold cost reduction compared to current launch systems. Key to propulsion efficiency is a unique precooler developed by Reaction Engines. There is very little experience globally in the integration of such devices into hypersonic propulsion systems, and a previous TSB feasibility study highlighted some important potential flow inefficiencies. This project will undertake CFD modelling and experimental measurements to provide understanding of the flow through the precooler installation. It will use this to design, manufacture and test an optimised cowl and centrebody aimed at improving the precooler installation aerodynamics. This study is critical to gain future private investment in this ground-breaking technology, aiding innovation in line with NSTS.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Reaction Engines Limited £46,341 £ 15,612


Cranfield University, United Kingdom £48,000 £ 48,000


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