Re: "I'll put my money on a Skylon."
im perfectly fine, depending on the compound, toughened graphite can be upto 10x stronger then the carbon which holds a forumal 1 cockpit together during a 36G head on crash
if you have toughened graphite, which would probably be a classified compound on a shuttle, then aerogel, and then carbon, you will have a light weight super strong hull which would survive space which the US air force x-37b hull is probably made of. then if you spray with a silicon spray, your hull will then be tough like a diamond, and is generally the ultimate glue on a building site, so you will have to bring out blow tourches and drills to break through the stuff, which is also used to hold roofs together during a storm
if elite dangerous engine is 1:1 scale, it should be easy enough to make a scale model of you craft, and add your EM drive power and gyroscope vectors into it, so you know your position in the solar system beyond mars because the sun will just be a dot and you will easily be lost without a 3d star map
making a true 1:1 star map is all part of the real science you can do while having a shuttle that has some speed, and if a next gen shuttle was 900 tons, that would make it roughly 4.5x bigger then NASA old shuttle, and with no fuel in the wings, comes more food for the outter reaches