Jet-setters may be able to fly from London to Sydney in just two hours before the decade is out.
New research by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) suggests travelers will be capable of soaring at supersonic speeds through space to arrive at major cities faster than ever before, as reported by The Times.
The CAA–funded medical study, published in the peer-reviewed Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance journal, found that most people handled the G-forces of suborbital space flights well. “Physiological responses are likely to be benign for most passengers,” Dr. Ryan Anderton, the CAA’s medical lead for flight, said.
Interestingly, the research found that fliers would not need to be fit or young to partake. In fact, older people may be better equipped to handle the high-speed jaunts. Anderton added that the elderly usually have slightly “stiffer arteries” that would lessen the pooling of blood away from the brain.
The technology is taking off, too, with a number of notable names in the supersonic-aviation race. Venus Aerospace’s hypersonic Stargazer plane, for instance, will reportedly be able to fly at Mach 9 (nine times the speed of sound) or roughly 6,905 mph to get you from New York to Tokyo in one hour. Virgin Galactic’s Mach 3 business jet, on the other hand, will be capable of hitting 2,300 mph to get up to 19 passengers from New York to London in 90 minutes. (Other companies attempting to resurrect supersonic travel include Boom Supersonic, Spike Aerospace, and Lockheed Martin.) The downside is that these flights will start off costing a pretty penny, but the CAA is expecting that they will soon be less expensive and eventually become “accessible to anybody.”
“Commercial suborbital space flights are now available for tourism and scientific research, and are ultimately anticipated to mature into extremely fast point-to-point travel, e.g. London to Sydney in less than two hours,” the study said.
It will take a lot of work to get to that point, of course. The respective companies have to overcome a myriad of engineering challenges and meet stringent 21st-century regulations. At least we know humankind will be good to board when it’s time.