The Future of Air Travel: Hypersonic Commercial Airliner’s

Hypersonic Commercial Space Plane
Hypersonic Commercial Space Plane

As the world progresses, so does the technology that we use on a daily basis. This can be seen in many aspects of our lives, including the way we travel. Air travel has come a long way since the Wright brothers made their historic flight in 1903. We’ve gone from propeller-driven planes to jet engines and now we’re on the cusp of something even bigger – hypersonic travel.

The Future of Flight: Introducing the Hypersonic Commercial Airliner

The future of flight is looking very promising with the introduction of the hypersonic commercial airliner. This new type of aircraft is said to be able to fly at speeds of Mach 5, which is five times the speed of sound. This would cut flight times in half and make international travel a much more feasible option for many people. The hypersonic commercial airliner is still in the development stage, but it is definitely an exciting possibility for the future of air travel.

The UK Space Agency announced its plan for a "space plane" that will travel between New York and London in one hour. A passenger liner flying Mach 5.4. Sign me up.
Several companies are developing supersonic rockets for commercial tourism.
Credit: Courtesy of Reaction Engines

One of the challenges of hypersonic flight is ensuring the engine can withstand the heat—traveling that quickly can cause the engine itself to melt—but SABRE chills the incoming air with tiny tubes of super-cooled helium, and then utilizes that captured heat to power the engine.

“Our pre-cooler takes air that arrives at 1,000 degrees centigrade and cools it down to zero in one-twentieth of a second,” Shaun Driscoll, of Reaction Engines, said.“That cold air is then used to cool the engine before it goes back into the pre-cooler and cycles around.”

As for the power of the SABRE, it could theoretically generate up to 150 megawatts at takeoff, easily enough to power an entire flight from takeoff to landing. “It’s a bit like a kettle,” Barrett says of the engine. “You turn on a kettle and you put in some water.” That cold air is then used to cool the engine before it goes back into the pre-cooler and cycles around.”

The new supersonic planes in development are faster than Concorde was.

That’s not just talk, either. Back in April, the Oxfordshire-based firm announced successful tests of a precooler, simulating conditions at Mach 3.3—that’s 50 percent faster than the supersonic turbojet Concorde, which trekked between New York and Paris in 3.5 hours, but was terminated in 2003 following a catastrophic crash in which 109 people died. It’s also on par with the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet aircraft ever made.

Reaction Engines will continue trialing parts, with test flights scheduled to begin in mid-2020 and commercial flights slated for the 2030s. The government has already invested £60 million (around $74 million at current exchange) into SABRE, which has been matched by Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and Boeing.

The Future of Air Travel: Hypersonic Commercial Airliner’s

As the world progresses, so does the technology that we use on a daily basis. This can be seen in many aspects of our lives, including the way we travel. Air travel has come a long way since the Wright brothers made their historic flight in 1903. We’ve gone from propeller-driven planes to jet engines and now we’re on the cusp of something even bigger – hypersonic travel.

The Future of Flight: Introducing the Hypersonic Commercial Airliner

The future of flight is looking very promising with the introduction of the hypersonic commercial airliner. This new type of aircraft is said to be able to fly at speeds of Mach 5, which is five times the speed of sound. This would cut flight times in half and make international travel a much more feasible option for many people. The hypersonic commercial airliner is still in the development stage, but it is definitely an exciting possibility for the future of air travel.

One of the challenges of hypersonic flight is ensuring the engine can withstand the heat—traveling that quickly can cause the engine itself to melt—but SABRE chills the incoming air with tiny tubes of super-cooled helium, and then utilizes that captured heat to power the engine.

“Our pre-cooler takes air that arrives at 1,000 degrees centigrade and cools it down to zero in one-twentieth of a second,” Shaun Driscoll, of Reaction Engines, said.“That cold air is then used to cool the engine before it goes back into the pre-cooler and cycles around.”

As for the power of the SABRE, it could theoretically generate up to 150 megawatts at takeoff, easily enough to power an entire flight from takeoff to landing. “It’s a bit like a kettle,” Barrett says of the engine. “You turn on a kettle and you put in some water.” That cold air is then used to cool the engine before it goes back into the pre-cooler and cycles around.”

That’s not just talk, either. Back in April, the Oxfordshire-based firm announced successful tests of a precooler, simulating conditions at Mach 3.3—that’s 50 percent faster than the supersonic turbojet Concorde, which trekked between New York and Paris in 3.5 hours, but was terminated in 2003 following a catastrophic crash in which 109 people died. It’s also on par with the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet aircraft ever made.

Reaction Engines will continue trialing parts, with test flights scheduled to begin in mid-2020 and commercial flights slated for the 2030s. The government has already invested £60 million (around $74 million at current exchange) into SABRE, which has been matched by Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and Boeing.