Say hello to hypersonic SpaceLiner that will reach 20 times the speed of sound and carry out transportation of passengers from London to Sydney in 90 minutes. According to sources, we could be seeing this technology in action by 2030. The plan was first proposed in 2007 by German aerospace bosses, however it was shelved only to re-surface again now with the bosses saying that this could be made possible if $33 billion can be raised. This implies that a journey between Europe and US would take about a little more than 60 minutes.
Martin Sippel, leader of the SpaceLiner project at DLR’s Space Launcher Systems Analysis group in Bremen, Germany at the American Institute of Aerodynamics and Astronautics Space Planes and Hypersonics Conference in Glasgow, Scotland said, “We want to come up with a development road map. We need a mission definition and this year we will do that in Phase A.”
To make it more feasible, DLR has outlined a 100-seat version that is capable of one-hour transpacific and intercontinental missions. According to an estimate, the tickets would cost about hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sippel further added, “We have several hundred million passengers traveling intercontinental distances each year and we think space should have a tiny portion of that. But even if the share will only be 0.2% why should we do it? From a space perspective that’s a potentially huge impact.”
The system has two stages and is completely reusable. It is comprised of a passenger orbiter along with a booster stage along with a rocket propulsion system that is environmentally friendly and makes use of liquid oxygen and hydrogen as fuel. The engines will accelerate the SpaceLiner to more than 20 times the speed of sound in under 10 minutes. At an altitude of 80 kilometers booster separation takes place and the passenger stage sees the gliding down in a state of unpowered flight to land at the required destination. It would take SpaceLiner about 8 minutes to reach an altitude of about 50 miles into the Earth’s upper atmosphere before it glides back to Earth at hypersonic speeds of more than 15,000mph.
DLR says, “The vision is seductive – boarding in Europe sit back, and already after 90 minutes at the other end of the world to get out again in Australia. Before the Spaceliner, to develop the Institute of Space Systems of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), can fly this route for the first time, however, new technologies tested and the conditions have yet to be determined.”
Sippel further added, “It sounds a long way off into the future but we need to achieve our 2020 goal of funding, otherwise we cannot keep these later dates.”