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Sexbomb Is a Pretty Strange Name for a Spaceplane Precursor, Here It Is Anyway
There are a lot of private companies out there trying to make a name for themselves in space exploration, and with such great diversity come many ideas, wildly different from one another, both in scope and name.

Sexbomb Is a Pretty Strange Name for a Spaceplane Precursor, Here It Is Anyway

Space Engine Systems Sexbomb demonstratorSpace Engine Systems Hello-1Space Engine Systems Hello-2Space Engine Systems DASS GNX engineSpace Engine Systems Sexbomb demonstratorSpace Engine Systems Hello-1 and Hello-2Space Engine Systems Sexbomb demonstratorSpace Engine Systems Hello
Today’s space exploration treat comes our way courtesy of Space Engine Systems (SES), a startup in the business of making the “lightest, reusable, multi-fuel propulsion system” for a series of spaceplanes. Founded in 2012, the Canadian company is yet to get out there with a working product, but the concepts it proposes are exciting, at least on paper.

SES is planning to develop two related spaceplanes, one destined to conduct missions to suborbital altitudes, and the other to any point between low-Earth orbit and the lunar surface. They’re called Hello-1 and Hello-2, both will be completely reusable, taking off and landing horizontally, and will use propulsion hardware the Canadians are developing in-house, and call DASS GNX.

DASS GNX is described as a precooled, air-breathing, turbo-ramjet that uses a non-toxic multi-fuel combustion process to work. It will kick in as an afterburning turbojet at speeds of between zero and Mach 3, and will behave like a ramjet from Mach 3 to Mach 5. The numbers make public so far point to one being capable of developing 20,000 lbf of thrust.

Hello-1 will use two such engines, backed by another rocket engine good for 100,000 lbf, and will reach an altitude of 100 km (62 miles). It can do so while carrying a maximum payload of 550 kg (1,210 lbs), cargo or crew, and push that even higher, if need be, by means of a transfer vehicle.

The more potent Hello-2 will be powered by between four and six DASS GNX engines, and an extra rocket engine of the same capacity as in the Hello-1. This one will be capable of carrying 5,500 kg (12,125 lbs) of cargo to low-Earth orbit, 1,730 kg (3,810 lbs) to geosynchronous orbit, and 760 kg (1,675 lbs) to the lunar surface.

SES plans to have the HELLO-1 in the air for testing sometime next year, and makes no mention about flight tests of the Hello-2. Crewed flights are expected in 2025.

Until we get there though, the technology itself needs to be tested, including the DASS GNX engines, and those will be put through their paces on a demonstrator called… Sexbomb.

That’s right, for one reason or another someone thought this would be a fitting name for a piece of technology that could weigh heavily in the future of space exploration. At least it sounds more user-friendly than the names Masten Space Systems, for instance, comes up with: Xogdor, Xoie, Xaero, and so on.

Sexbomb was designed to be launched from under the belly of a fighter jet, as soon as this carrier platform reaches an altitude of 15 km (50,000 ft) and a speed of Mach 1.8. Once launched, it should climb to a little over 17 km (55,770 feet), and floor it to reach a speed of Mach 5. It should fly on its own power for 300 seconds, then start to glide down to its home base.

At least, that was the theory. SES intended to have the Sexbomb fly over American or British heads, on account of the more permissive regulations there when it comes to testing such things, but that changed in October last year, when it announced the flight would take place over the Canadian province of Manitoba.

The supersonic fighter jet is out of the picture as well, and we’re now informed a stratospheric balloon will be used to lift the Sexbomb to 33.5 km (110,000 ft). From there, it will freefall until it reaches Mach 1.8, and all should go as described above from that moment on.

No exact date for the test flight has been given, but we do know the launch and landing location is Lynn Lake Airport in northern Manitoba.

If successful, the Sexbomb and subsequent Hello planes should not only help with space ambitions, but also act as means of planetary transport, with SES promising 30-minute trips from Toronto to Edmonton (over 3,400 km/2,100 miles). Presently, airplanes need more than four hours to cover the distance.


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