There was a time, not so long ago, when you could get from London to New York in two-and-a-half-hours. Since the sad demise of the Concorde fleet, aviation enthusiasts have been waiting for the next generation of supersonic flight.
Now, a group of military scientists from the United Stats and Australia have reported successful tests of a rocket capable of travelling with a top speed of Mach 7.5 (5,710 mph), over seven times the speed of sound.
The supersonic combustion ramjet, which reached an altitude of 278 kilometres during the most recent test, could make the LHR to JFK trip in about half an hour.
The hypersonic tech would also allow passengers to travel between London and Sydney Australia in two hours.
The next Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) test is scheduled for next year, with the researchers hoping to strap-in humans in 2018.
“It is a game-changing technology identified in the 2016 Defence White Paper and could revolutionise global air travel, providing cost-effective access to space.”
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The aptly-named Michael Smart, an aviation expert working with the program, added: “It’s an exciting time… we want to be able to fly with a hypersonic engine at Mach 7,”
“The practical application of that is you could fly long distances over the Earth very, very quickly but also that it’s very useful as an alternative to a rocket for putting satellites into space.”