What Would You Pay to Fly from Europe to Australia in 90 Minutes?

The folks at Space.com are reporting on the latest developments in hypersonic jet travel which would allow passengers ride a rocket to their destination somewhere around 50 miles above the earth at speeds reaching 15,000 miles per hour or more.

In other words, a trip from London to Sydney might take, oh, about an hour-and-a-half.

Reserve Your Space Flight – Right Now

Fly at 15,000 MPH for $500,000?

However, do not expect to hop aboard a Speedy Airlines rocket-plane anytime soon – scientists involved in Germany’s SpaceLiner project say it probably won’t happen until 2050 or so, because of the “challenges” remain, and that’s an understatement. Among the obstacles:

  • Researchers need to design an aircraft that will survive the intense heat of “gliding at hypersonic speeds” through the upper atmosphere (in other words, something that won’t melt)
  • Take-off would require a rocket launch site situated near uninhabited areas (in other words, forget about going to JFK)
  • Finding passengers who will pay “several hundred thousand dollars” for an airline ticket may be problematic (a problem that may be eased if free checked-bags are included in airfare)

Speaking of Space – What’s the Deal with Legroom?

Sonic Booms, Too

Another concern: careful flight plans must be developed so the sonic boom that occurs during final landing approach does not damage nearby buildings. FareCompare spoke with a Los Angeles resident who lived under the flight path of space shuttle landings at Edwards Air Force Base who told us the sonic booms she experienced shook her house to its foundations. “Everyone would race out of their homes because they thought an earthquake was underway,” she said.

How Much Speed do Passengers Want?

Something else to consider: The demise of the Concorde SST – which zipped through the skies from 1976 through 2003 – was not met with any great outcry. Apparently, a three-and-a-half hour flight from New York to Paris was not on the top of enough passengers’ lists.

But maybe attitudes will change. Would you pay a lot of money to fly real fast?

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Published: January 28, 2013