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Hypersonic plane to fly from Europe to Australia in 90 minutes

posted 25 Jan 2013, 11:35 by Mpelembe   [ updated 25 Jan 2013, 11:35 ]

Next Media - The rocket-powered hypersonic plane SpaceLiner, designed by the German Aerospace Center’s Institute of Space Systems, aims to send passengers from Europe to Australiain 90 minutes by 2050. The design is expected to evolve, but currently includes a rocket booster stage and a separate orbiter stage that would fly at an altitude of around 47 to 50 miles, reaching 24 times the speed of sound before gliding back to earth for landing. If successful, flying from Europe to Australia could take just 90 minutes, and California toEurope just 60 minutes. However, significant challenges still remain, such as finding the right shape for the vehicle that is able to withstand the intense heat created by gliding at hypersonic speeds through the upper atmosphere.