Plans for a hypersonic passenger jet to cut the long-haul to the Far East to three hours or less have been in the pipeline for nearly a decade. Super-fast planes that travel at several times the speed of sound were once confined to the pages of science-fiction novels but experts are working towards making them science-fact.
British company Reaction Engines is testing hypersonic 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.
In 2010, the Australian military tested potential hypersonic flights with limited success.
Although they mastered take-off and flight speeds of 5840kmph as the jet hurtled towards the stars, it broke up on the way back down to earth and crash landed 10 minutes after launching. Such speeds would see the journey from London to New York cut to just 58 minutes, while a jaunt to Japan would be around three hours. While proposals are currently many and varied, delivering the technology is a long way off.
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