Should the engineers working with the German Aerospace Center have their way, the year 2050 is quite likely to witness the first flight of a so-called hypersonic SpaceLiner which can travel from London to Sydney in just 90 minutes.
This is because, courtesy of several technological breakthroughs, this futuristic vehicle would fly at roughly 24 times the speed of sound.
Needless to say, the SpaceLiner would require a custom-made launch site, which must be built at a considerable distance from any residential areas so as to make sure ordinary folks would not in any way be affected by the sonic boom it is expected to create when taking off.
Space explains that it would only take about 8 minutes for the SpaceLiner to make it all the way up to an altitude of 50 miles (about 242 kilometers), and from that moment on, gliding back to earth at an average speed of 15,000 mph (roughly 25,200 kph) would be a fairly easy thing to do.
In case anyone was wondering, it looks like this vehicle is to be protected from the intense heat which is bound to be generated when traveling at said top speed by both several cooling technologies and a heat shield.
In order to reach the targeted hypersonic speeds, the SpaceLiner would require a liquid oxygen and hydrogen rocket fuel.
The scientists working on this project explain that, at least from one standpoint, their hypersonic SpaceLiner is to be fairly similar to run-of-the-mill planes, meaning that its mission will be that of transporting passengers from one part of the globe to another.
It is the engineers’ belief that once completed, the hypersonic SpaceLiner will be capable of accommodating as many as 50 individuals.
Still, those wishing to get aboard this vehicle must be ready and willing to part with several hundred thousand dollars, seeing how flying tickets will be nothing if not quite expensive.
“Maybe we can best characterize the SpaceLiner by saying it's a kind of second-generation space shuttle, but with a completely different task,” argued Martin Sippel, one of the researchers currently working on this project.
For the time being, is seems that all that is lacking for this project to really take off is private funding.