By Mark Prigg For Dailymail.com
A hypersonic SpaceLiner capable of reaching 20 times the speed of sound and transporting passengers from London to Sydney in 90 minutes could be with us by 2030.
HOW IT WOULD WORK
The two-stage, fully reusable system – consists of a passenger orbiter and a booster stage with an environmentally friendly rocket propulsion system fuelled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen.
The engines will accelerate the SpaceLiner to more than 20 times the speed of sound in less than 10 minutes.
Following separation the spacecraft will glide hypersonically at Mach 20-plus, at altitudes above 80 km, toward its destination.
German aerospace bosses first proposed the plan in 2007 before shelving it - but now say it could happen within decades if they can raise $33 billion.
It would mean a journey between Europe and the U.S. would be reduced to just over 60 minutes - at a price.
Martin Sippel, leader of the SpaceLiner project at DLR's Space Launcher Systems Analysis group in Bremen, Germany, told Aviation Week at the American Institute of Aerodynamics and Astronautics Space Planes and Hypersonics Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, the scheme could now move ahead.
'We want to come up with a development road map,' he said.
'We need a mission definition and this year we will do that in Phase A.'
To make it more viable, DLR has also outlined a 100-seat version capable of 1-hr. intercontinental and transpacific missions.
It is expected tickets would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
'We have several hundred million passengers traveling intercontinental distances each year and we think space should have a tiny portion of that,' says Sippel.
'But even if the share will only be 0.2% why should we do it? From a space perspective that's a potentially huge impact.'