back to article ESA builds air-breathing engine that works in space

The European Space Agency has hailed the successful test of an air-breathing engine that works in space. The engines don’t need the oxygen found in air to burn. Instead, as the ESA has explained here, the idea is to collect air, compress it, give it a charge and then squirt it out to provide thrust. The engine has no moving …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typo

    "The engine has no moving parts and that’s needed to power the engine is electricity."

    should be:

    "The engine has no moving parts and all that is needed to power the engine is electricity."

    Seriously, who proof reads at Reg Vulture Relocated Rotting Corpse Central?

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Typo

      I wouldn't bother applying for the job as you missed the "Tips and corrections" link that's at the bottom of every story.

      1. smartermind

        Re: Typo

        If the coward used the corrections link, we wouldn't, necessarily, know about it and be able to add our invaluable input!

      2. iron Silver badge

        @A Non e-mouse

        The email link for corrections? If you use webmail or don't have an email client set up for some other reason it is completely useless. It's long past time El Reg had a convenient web form for corrections rather than relying on email.

        1. DuncanT

          Re: @A Non e-mouse

          Or you could try setting up your machine properly to handle a very basic href standard.

        2. Mage Silver badge

          Re:don't have an email client set up for some other reason it is completely useless

          I had real email on my phone in 2001. I don't bother now as I don't go out.

          Sure 1/2 the people reading are probably in offices during day?

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: @A Non e-mouse

          The email link for corrections? If you use webmail or don't have an email client set up for some other reason it is completely useless

          If only computer came with the ability to copy a bit of text from one browser window to another eh? That would mean we could do a whole lot more!

          There - can you see my level of sympathy? It's not only very, very small, it's also very, very, very far away...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typo

        > you missed the "Tips and corrections" link

        You mean the mailto: link? If there was a proper webform that was quick and convenient, I'd happily use it. Having to disclose my email address or go through the faff of logging into a throwaway one to correct someone's spelling mistakes? I don't think so.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Typo

          Sending email is DIFFICULT??? Methinks ElReg might be too advanced for you. Perhaps try another redtop?

          And BTW, Mr/s AC, ElReg already has your email address. Remember, that one you used to sign up with? The one that all your posts are linked to? Hint: eyeball your posting history. Not all that anonymous, are you?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Typo

            > Mr/s AC, ElReg already has your email address.

            The throwaway email address that I used to sign up here like twenty years ago does not even point to an existing domain. I am not sure if it ever did.

            Quite apart from the loss of privacy, I would hate to deal with all the spam that results when people give their actual email address(es) to world + dog.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Typo

              So you admit you falsified your ElReg registration info? Are you certain you want to do that? After all, it's been your handle "for like 20 years" (yeah, sure, right). I'd hate to see you lose it.

              You also admit that you use email addresses that are not yours? There's a word for that.

              How on earth do you equate using a proper email address to register here with "giving your email addres(es) to world+dog"? Do you really think ElReg is likely to sell your address to spammers? Or are you so paranoid that not even your DearOldMum knows your email address? Because I guarantee that ElReg is a hell of a lot less likely to be compromised than she is. Kinda makes email pretty useless for you, no? So you may as well use the real thing, useless as it is ...

              Your privacy in this context is totally meaningless outside your personal paranoia.

              1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: Typo

                Do you really think ElReg is likely to sell your address to spammers

                .. which they don't. Or, at least, I've never had any spam addressed to the variant I use for El Reg..

                Your privacy in this context is totally meaningless outside your personal paranoia.

                [Potstirring mode=On]

                Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they are not out to get you..

                [/PSM=Off]

            2. gotes

              Re: Typo

              You could send an e-mail using a completely fabricated from: address if you want, all you need is an SMTP server.

              Alternatively publicly deride the author for making a simple error.

        2. Mage Silver badge

          Re: disclose my email address

          Didn't you do that ANYWAY, to be a commentard?

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Typo

          webform that was quick and convenient, I'd happily use it. Having to disclose my email address

          .. which you must have done in order to get an El Reg login..

      4. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Typo

        The tips and corrections link is a mailto: link, which isn't much help when you don't have an email client installed.

        And I'll admit to being too lazy to go through the rigmarole of logging into webmail when I can just post it as a comment.

        The reg would be better off making it a form that, it they really want an email, sends an email.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Typo

          The reg would be better off making it a form that

          .. can be abused by every spam engine out there?

          I have one website that has a feedback form. Despite the fact that it goes no-where else other than webmaster@, it gets tons of autofilled spam.

          It also regularly gets a whole SMTP conversation (albeit one-sided) where scum^W spammers are trying to use it as if it was an open relay..

          1. MrKrotos

            Re: Typo

            "I have one website that has a feedback form. Despite the fact that it goes no-where else other than webmaster@, it gets tons of autofilled spam."

            Your doing it wrong then!

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Typo

              Blaming the victim, MrKrotos?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typo

      The "that's" is more probably a single letter typo of "what's".

      "The engine has no moving parts and what's needed to power the engine is electricity."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typo

      The sort of complaints we'd have to get used to if Jacob Rees-Mogg was to become Prime Minister (please no), where tedious (Mogg like-minded) people get so wrapped up in minute detail that nothing ever gets done.

      It's a great article, see it for what it is.

      (You could be having a field day over at the Daily Mail. Maybe, head over there, they describe Scottish people as "English roses")

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Typo

        The sort of complaints we'd have to get used to if Jacob Rees-Mogg was to become Prime Minister

        It's just as well it's not Boris Johnson, or we'd have to have the typos corrected in Latin.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Typo

          It's just as well it's not Boris Johnson, or we'd have to have the typos corrected in Latin.

          Mutatis mutandis

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Typo

            Mutatis mutandis

            BoJo is a mutated mustard?

      2. Jemma Silver badge

        Re: Typo

        Tis better than what they used to call them, forsooth - to whit "moving targets"

        That said the next person who complains on a forum about their cars expensive break job, I will happily chase down with a Ricin laced crossbow.

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: Typo

          @Jemma

          cars expensive break job

          Hey, if you break your Ferrari by wrapping it round a tree, it is a VERY expensive job!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Typo

          You want to lace up a crossbow? That's some weird Tory MP level stuff right there....

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Typo

            That's some weird Tory MP level stuff right there.

            Oh I dunno - the old time Liberal party was partial to a bit of that too.

            Err.. allegedly.

        3. jake Silver badge

          Re: Typo

          As long as it's just the crossbow, and you're the one handling it. The bolts, on the other hand ...

          The gripping hand wonders if lacing a crossbow is anything like lacing a wheel?

        4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Typo

          I will happily chase down with a Ricin laced crossbow

          It's probably better to lace the bolts with Ricin..

          OK, OK, I'm just leaving. Mine's the coat with the built-in leather plates and the chain coif attached.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typo

        And if Jeremy Corbyn was Prime Minister then you could denounce people who make complaints you don't like and have them sent to the gulag to be worked to death.

        But I prefer to keep childish and irrelevant political commentary in the Guardian where it belongs.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: Typo

          Oi! I rather like the Grauniad.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: Grauniad

            You mean the Gridion. The Truth will make you fret.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typo

        > It's a great article, see it for what it is.

        I beg to differ. The subject of the article may be great. The article itself is just a quick (and typoed) rewording of the ESA's own press release. This article's only plus is that it provides a link to that.

    4. Adam Jarvis

      Elon Musk's plans for a low orbit, low latency network of satellites.

      Elon Musk's plans for a low orbit, low latency cluster/network of satellites providing Internet capability, is looking rather more feasible and manageable. This would give those satellites a much longer working life.

      Maybe he knew more than he was letting on when he announced it.

      1. Stu Mac

        Re: Elon Musk's plans for a low orbit, low latency network of satellites.

        A global internet free of ICAAN, censorship or the copytheft monopolists?

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Elon Musk's plans for a low orbit, low latency network of satellites.

        He's the third organisation with the idea. Work started already.

        The problem is that while it solves the latency issue of Ka-Sat (with its 82 spots approx), it doesn't give very good capacity.

        Good coverage doesn't mean good speed.

    5. AceRimmer1980
      Coat

      Re: Typo

      Bussard central, shurely?

  2. MacroRodent Silver badge

    GOCE

    >ESA’s GOCE gravity-mapping mission, but it carried 40kg of Xenon gas to provide it with thrust so it could change altitude when its orbit became low.

    Actually it ran the ion thruster all the time, to keep it orbiting smoothly, despite the air resistance.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Boffin

      The concept’s been used before by..GOCE..but it carried 40kg of Xenon gas

      That's called an ion thruster. Lots of those have been used.

      This uses the ambient "atmosphere" (although it's roughly < 1/32 Sea Level pressure).

      This is (loosely) an "Ion ramjet" rather than an "Ion rocket"

      So yes that is pretty impressive as it's one of the first (the first?) ever demonstrated.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        "...roughly < 1/32 Sea Level pressure...".

        JS19 suggested that the environment under discussion was "...roughly < 1/32 Sea Level pressure...".

        At orbital velocity, roughly 1/32 Atmosphere would cause any spacecraft to be quickly incinerated. This is one reason why there are not very many satellites orbiting at 80,000 feet above the Earth.

        1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: "...roughly < 1/32 Sea Level pressure...".

          I would just say that "roughly <" was a tiny understatement.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          At orbital velocity, roughly 1/32 Atmosphere would cause any spacecraft

          Ooops.

          Well that's what happens when you use the rule of thumb of air pressure halving every 5.6Km.

          In fact https://www.avs.org/AVS/files/c7/c7edaedb-95b2-438f-adfb-36de54f87b9e.pdf

          Suggests its more like 72 millionths of a Psi.

  3. James 51 Silver badge

    depends on how this tech scales but you could find more sats lasting longer in low orbit. More accurate GPS, sat phone prices (both handset amd air time) might drop to sane levels (imagine access outside everywhere in the world and pico cells for inside). Cube sats could be revolutionised.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Joke

      "Cube sats could be revolutionised."

      Would that make them sphere sats?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Don't be such a square, man.

      2. James 51 Silver badge

        @AC all I need is a lightsabre and a helmet with a broken visor.

      3. TRT Silver badge

        Wouldn't that make them sphere sats?

        Cubes vs spheres? Sounds familiar.

        1. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Cubes vs spheres? Sounds familiar.

          Thank you TRT. Nice to hear Windsor Davis again.

      4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Does that mean we'd see them on the telly?

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