by David Drake
Traveling at the speed of sound may sound nerve-wracking to you, but scientists are getting restless with traveling only at supersonic speeds. In fact, they’re testing out various technologies that move at hypersonic speeds. Yet how fast is hypersonic exactly? Well, if supersonic is exceeding the speed of sound (measured as Mach 1), then hypersonic is exceeding the speed of sound by 5 times (Mach 5). That means you’d be traveling at approximately 6,200km/h at sea level.
The ongoing hypersonic technology development will soon reduce the travel time between Sydney and London to only two hours. This innovative means of transportation makes Concorde’s speed appear relatively slow. After undergoing a successful trial in the Australian desert, considered to be the biggest land testing location in the world, the new project is scheduled to be launched in 2018.
The hypersonic travel project has been developed through combined resources of the Australian and U.S. military scientists. A combustion engine that operates at supersonic speed and obtains oxygen from the atmosphere for use as fuel has been developed. This is what makes the engine, as well as the entire plane, faster and more lightweight compared to gas-powered airplanes. The latest engine test attained an overwhelming speed of 5,760 mph (Mach 7.5), which is 7x faster than sound.
Alex Zelinsky,chief Australian scientist among the project team, says “It is a game-changing technology… and could revolutionize global air travel, providing cost-effective access to space.”
Hypersonic technology is expected to revolutionize air travel across the world by reducing travel time substantially. For instance, it will only take around 35 minutes to go to London from New York, and vice versa. These overwhelming speeds will make people spend more time at the airport security lines than on the actual journey.
Besides the Australian and U.S. team project, there are other teams that are also working on various hypersonic travel projects. NASA has already announced its plan to develop a supersonic passenger jet that will make flight safer, quieter and greener. This jet will be completed by 2020.
Airbus, an aircraft manufacturer, has also partnered with Aerion, an aerospace firm, to create a supersonic business jet dubbed Aerion S2. The target speed of the business jet is Mach 1.6. It is planned to be launched in the market by 2021.
There is no doubt that there are a lot of expectations from the ongoing hypersonic and supersonic travel projects. All stakeholders in the aerospace are optimistic that the projects will be successful and the benefits will be reaped by passengers and the aeronautics community alike. It is worth noting that the projects are not only focusing on overwhelming speed but also on safety, noise level and eco-friendliness of the airplanes.
David Drake is the Chairman of LDJ Capital, a multi-family office; Victoria Partners, a 300 family office network; LDJ Real Estate Group and Drake Hospitality Group; and The Soho Loft Media Group with divisions Victoria Global Communications,Times Impact Publications, and The Soho Loft Conferences. Reach him directly at David@LDJCapital.com.
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