BERLIN – German researchers are looking into the construction of a hyper-sonic aircraft that could carry passengers from Europe to Australia in one and a half hour.
Space research company Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) reckons it could solve jet lag for good with a “SpaceLiner” that would travel at 20 times the speed of sound.
The company says it could build the craft by 2030 if (and it’s a big if) it can raise $33 BILLION to fund the project.
If it succeeds, it could transport 100 passengers across the planet in record time. Flying from Europe to the USA could be achieved in under an hour.
“We want to come up with a development road map,” Martin Sippel, DLR’s leader of the Space Liner project told Aviation Week. “We need a mission definition and this year we will do that in Phase A.”
“We have several hundred million passengers traveling intercontinental distances each year and we think space should have a tiny portion of that.
“But even if the share will only be 0.2% why should we do it? From a space perspective that’s a potentially huge impact.”
Once completed, the Space Liner would use a reusable booster and fly back through the atmosphere to its destination at 4.3 miles a second.
Other companies are also researching the possibilities of hyper-sonic travel.
British company Reaction Engines is testing hyper-sonic aircraft which could travel at speeds of Mach 2.5 all the way up to Mach 5.
And Nasa is reportedly working on the next generation of passenger planes, looking to create sleek and safe craft to combat the current ban on supersonic flight over land.
Even if the technology becomes available, ticket prices are likely to be *ahem* astronomical.