Revolutionary space engine system for Skylon tested
27 April 2012 Last updated at 11:38 BST
British engineers have begun a crucial series of tests of an experimental engine technology that its designers believe could revolutionise space travel.
The Skylon project is a concept for a spaceplane which could fly from runway to orbit in a single stage.
The key is a unique design for an engine that operates as a jet and rocket motor combined.
The critical component is a specially-designed cooling system to handle the high temperatures of rapidly-flowing air.
David Shukman was given exclusive access to the tests at Culham Science Park in Oxfordshire.