Reaction Engines conducts research into space propulsion systems, centred on the development of the Skylon re-usable SSTO spaceplane, using its own Sabre engine design.

The company has also developed the A2 passenger plane concept, capable of flying non stop, halfway around the world at hypersonic speed (Mach 5+).

Describing the limitations of current access to space Richard Varvill explains the pioneering work at Reaction Engines to develop a better alternative.

Currently responsible for the technical aspects of Skylon and the Sabre engine, Varvill read mechanical engineering at Bristol University in conjunction with an undergraduate apprenticeship at Rolls Royce.

On graduation he joined the Military Engine Division working in the advanced projects office as an engineering designer.

His work included various military gas turbine concepts including the EJ200 engine and was responsible for design work on HOTOL’s RB545 engines in the late 1980s.

In 1990 he left Rolls Royce to start Reaction Engines as one of the founding directors along with Alan Bond and John Scott-Scott.

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