Alan Bond (engineer)

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Alan Bond
Born 1944 (age 73–74)
Ripley, Derbyshire, England, UK
Occupation Mechanical Engineer
Employer Reaction Engines Limited
Known for Major developer of Project Daedalus starship concept, HOTOL and Skylon spaceplanes. Founder of Reaction Engines Limited.
Notable work A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels' Impact Event

Alan Bond (born 1944) is an English mechanical and aerospace engineer, as well as Managing Director of Reaction Engines Ltd[1] and associated with Project Daedalus, Blue Streak missile, HOTOL, Reaction Engines Skylon and the Reaction Engines A2 hypersonic passenger aircraft.


Alan Bond is an engineer, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked on liquid rocket engines, principally the RZ.2 (liquid oxygen / kerosene) and the RZ.20 (liquid oxygen / liquid hydrogen) at Rolls Royce under the tutelage of Val Cleaver, and he was also involved with flight trials of the Blue Streak at Woomera.

He then worked for about 20 years at UK Atomic Energy Authority's Culham Laboratory on nuclear fusion, on the JET and RFX nuclear research projects. He was engaged in studies for the application of fusion to interplanetary space travel. He is the leading author of the report on the Project Daedalus interstellar, fusion powered starship concept, published by the British Interplanetary Society.

In the 1980s, he was one of the creators of the HOTOL spaceplane project, along with Dr. Bob Parkinson of British Aerospace. Alan Bond brought a precooled jet engine design he had invented to the HOTOL project, and this became the Rolls Royce RB545 rocket engine.

In 1989, he formed Reaction Engines Limited[1] (REL) with fellow rocket engineers, Richard Varvill and John Scott-Scott. REL is developing a single-stage orbital spaceplane Skylon, and other advanced vehicles including the Reaction Engines A2 hypersonic airliner concept as part of the European LAPCAT programme. The projects have involved the practical development of hydrogen fuelled, pre-cooled air breathing rocket engines, most notably, an engine called SABRE (Synergic Air Breathing Rocket Engine) as well as the Scimitar and STERN engines.

Köfels impact event[edit]

In a self-published book[2] co-authored with Mark Hempsell, an engineer at the University of Bristol, Bond claimed to have deciphered an Assyrian clay tablet dated to 700 BC that they argued might describe an asteroid strike causing a landslide at Köfels in Tyrol in 3123 BC. They relate this to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.[3] The landslide is normally dated to about 9800 years ago,[4] long before the tablet was recorded and over 4500 years before the Bristol researchers' date.[5] Bond and Hempsell have suggested that there was contamination, a claim that has been denied by other research.[6] The impact theory had already been proposed in 1936 by the Austrian scientist Franz Eduard Suess and later on by Alexander Tollmann, who hypothetized impacts in around 7640 BC and 3150 BC, respectively. The question of whether an impact caused the landslide has been researched by others and no evidence was found for an asteroid, meteorite or comet, and geologists consider it to have been caused by other factors such as 'deep creep'.[7]

Television documentary[edit]

The work of Bond and his colleagues Richard Varvill and John Scott-Scott on the development of the HOTOL and SKYLON spaceplanes was chronicled in a 50-minute TV documentary, "The Three Rocketeers", first broadcast on BBC Four on 12 Sept 2012.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Reaction Engines Ltd. 2006
  2. ^ Bond, A. and M. Hempsell, 2008, A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels' Impact Event, WritersPrintshop, London, United Kingdom. 128 pp. ISBN 1-904623-64-6
  3. ^ Fleming, N., 2008, Clay tablet holds clue to asteroid mystery, Daily Telegraph
  4. ^ Prager, Christoph; Zangerl, Christian; Nagler, Thomas. "Geological controls on slope deformations in the Köfels rockslide area (Tyrol, Austria)" (PDF). Austrian Journal of Earth Sciences. Vienna. 102/2. 
  5. ^ Kubik, P. W., S. Ivy-Ochs, J. Masarik, M. Frank, and C. Schluchter, 1998, 10Be and 26Al production rates deduced from an instantaneous event within the dendro-calibration curve, the landslide of Köfels, Otz Valley, Austria. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. vol. 161, no. 1-4, pp. 231-241
  6. ^ Ivy-Ochs, S., H. Heuberger, P. W. Kubik, H. Kerschner, G. Bonani, M. Frank, and C. Schluchter, 1998, The age of the Kofels event. Relative, 14C and cosmogenic isotope dating of an early Holocene landslide in the central Alps (Tyrol, Austria). Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie. vol. 34, pp. 57-70.
  7. ^ Deutsch, A., C. Koeberl, J.D. Blum, B.M. French, B.P. Glass, R. Grieve, P. Horn, E.K. Jessberger, G. Kurat, W.U. Reimold, J. Smit, D. stoffler, and S.R. Taylor, 1994, The impact-flood connection: Does it exist? Terra Nova. vol. 6, pp. 644-650.
  8. ^ BBC Four: The Three Rocketeers, retrieved 14 Sept 2012

External links[edit]