Ever heard of a space jet? A German team was reported to work on a new jet wherein passengers can travel from London to Melbourne in 90 minutes or Paris to San Francisco in less than an hour. It’s made possible by the team’s so-called SpaceLiner.
As reported on CNN, the German team will make use of space technologies to come up with the “world’s most advanced hypersonic airliner” called SpaceLiner. Hypersonic means that the jet would fly at Mach 25 — up to five times faster than the speed of sound.
The jet concept is a product of 10-year research of the Space Launcher Systems Analysis (SART) Department at the Institute of Space Systems located in Bremen. At the speed of Mach 25, the SpaceLiner can fly 50 passengers across the world.
The SpaceLiner has two stages – the booster and passenger stage. During its launch, the hypersonic jet will be propelled by 11 rocket engines. Afterwards, the passenger vehicle will continue to accelerate and separate from the booster. Then, it goes up in the air like an aircraft but with a speed of Mach 25.
As mentioned on the site, the SpaceLiner is environment-friendly as it would use liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants. Thus, it only produces water vapour. Although it will be fully-automated, there would be two pilots to manage the flight.
But space travel is indeed expensive. According to SART researcher Dr. Olga Trivailo, “the high costs are due to limited technology application and, thus, demand, which underpins low production rates of space systems.”
However, researchers hope to reuse the space jet. This means that it would return to the launch site after the passenger stage. The site mentioned that the rocket engines can “withstand at least 25 launches” and both stages “can last up to 150 cycles.”
According to SART’s estimate, SpaceLiner flights will be possible 30 years from now. For the project to become a reality, Dr. Trivailo mentioned that they would need an initial investment of 28 to 30 billion euros for the jet to reach the prototype stage.
If the jet will be designed as fully-reusable, SART researchers hope that space travel will be “cost-effective” and “more accessible” to the public.