From Shanghai to New York in 2 hours is the goal set by the Chinese company Space Transportation with the hypersonic aircraft it is developing. The target release date is currently set for 2030. With a speed close to 7,000 km/h, it would be more than triple the speed ever reached by the Concorde, which offered flights of 2,179 km/h with its supersonic speed.
An icon of aviation and engineering marvel of the 20th century, Concorde succeeded in halving, when it came into operation in 1976, the flight time of any other commercial aircraft thanks to its supersonic speed, i.e. faster than the speed of sound (1,235.52 km/h or 343 m/s at sea level).
We are committed to the development and application of high-speed flight technology.Space Transportation
But if the Concorde managed to double the speed of sound (Match 2), this Chinese model would multiply it by 5, thus reaching the hypersonic speed. Other projects seeking to regain supersonic speed, such as Aerion AS3 is preparing to reach 4,800 km/h (Match 4) but far from the 7,000 km/h proposed by Space Transportation.
According to a video published by the Chinese company, its futuristic planes, more like space rockets than traditional aircraft, will be able to get from Shanghai to New York, a flight that takes on average 15 hours, in just 2 hours. The video also shows the experience of the plane, with a capacity for 12 passengers, which, in fact, takes off and lands like a rocket, vertically.
From the point of origin the craft is launched to the edge of the atmosphere, 100 km from the earth, from where, after separating from the rockets, it travels to its destination. Both the two rockets and the delta wing structure return to their base, to be used for another flight. This is why, technically, they will be classified as ‘spaceflight’.
The company also has plans to move into space tourism, with a first suborbital test flight in 2025. The next goal will be the flight of a full-scale global hypersonic vehicle by 2030. A plane that could fly from Shanghai to Dubai in just 60 minutes, or from Paris to New York in an hour.
If realized, the project would fulfill China’s ambition to participate in the space tourism race, currently led by the companies of tycoons Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, as well as hypersonic flights. Since the Concorde was discontinued (its last flight took place on November 26, 2003), many companies have tried to revive supersonic flight.
According to the company’s figures, last year it managed to raise 47 million euros in financing from a joint investment fund of Matrix Partners China and the state-owned Shanghai Guosheng Group.
Another aspect is its commercial profitability. This was precisely the reason given by Air France and British Airways for withdrawing the Concorde after the accident of July 25, 2000 in Gonesse (France) in which 109 passengers and crew members died, as well as four other people on the ground, and which was the final straw for an aircraft affected by the low number of passengers, high maintenance costs and the fall in air travel after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
According to a study by Deloitte and backed by NASA work, the viability of these flights will depend on combinations of speed, passenger capacity and range. The study concluded that there is sufficient sustainable demand for high-speed transport, a demand they identify in scheduled airlines and private flights, including charter services. A different NASA study, prepared by BryceTech and SAIC, determined that up to 300 routes worldwide could support supersonic commercial flights.
Long-haul transoceanic flights would be the most sought-after, including the New York-London, Miami-Sao Paulo, New York-Paris, Los Angeles-Sydney, and Sydney-Singapore connections. They would have, according to this source, a potential of 2.25 million annual passengers and $16.5 billion in revenues.