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European and British regulators have just approved the design for a new rocketplane called the Skylon.

Britain’s new rocketplane could be the next spaceship

Illustration of the Skylon rocketplane (credit: Reaction Engines/Adrian Mann)

Illustration of the Skylon rocketplane (credit: Reaction Engines/Adrian Mann)

European and British regulators have just approved the design for a new rocketplane called the Skylon. And the super-sci-fi-looking craft could be a successor to the space shuttle.

The liquid hydrogen and oxygen Sabre engines would make space flight possible. They function similarly to the engines of the current space shuttle. As Fast Company explains, the Sabre engines “also burn liquid hydrogen and oxygen, but they actually breathe in that oxygen from the air itself–cooling it, extracting it from the other gases, and then compressing it before firing it through the engine much as the final stage of the Space Shuttle’s engines do.”

Skylon would provide a cheaper alternative for space flights, at a mere $40 million, which is $20 million cheaper than the current most affordable option provided by Space X’s Falcon 9 rockets.

Now with its approval from the European Space Agency, Reaction Engines, Skylon’s designer, needs to generate interest for the craft and secure money and government backing to develop the engines.

About Jason McClellan

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Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.