Reaction Engines Ltd, devoted to designing and developing advanced space transport and propulsion systems, have revealed plans to design and build a hypersonic passenger aircraft, fuelled by a mixture of air, liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

The hypersonic passenger aircraft and an equally quick freight transporter with a range of 20,000km are expected to be capable of travelling from Brussels to Sydney in anything from 2-4 hours.

The Skylon, an unmanned space plane, would have a slender fuselage and both take off and land horizontally using its own undercarriage.

At the heart of the company’s ambitious plans, especially for the Skylon, is a new hybrid rocket engine known as the Sabre. This will burn a mixture of air and liquid hydrogen from take-off to Mach 5 and switch to liquid oxygen as the craft attains orbital velocity.

Since 1989, Reaction Engines has devoted its resources to producing a robust technical design for Skylon and its Sabre engines while formulating a practical strategy to bring them into commercial production.