Business |  Aviation

EADS looks to future with hypersonic jet

Source: Agencies  |   2011-6-20  |     NEWSPAPER EDITION

The story appears on Page A11
Jun 20, 2011

Shopping Cart
Free for subscribers

Reading Tools


Financial crisis

3G network

Shanghai stock market

Housing price

Homepages of Alipay, Tenpay and Yeepay are arranged for photos yesterday in Shanghai. The People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank, has recently granted licenses to 27 non-financial institutions, including market leaders Alipay and Tenpay, to operate third-party payment systems.

Photo by Zhang Suoqing

More in photo gallery

FANCY traveling from Paris to Tokyo in less than three hours? Do you yearn for the Concorde days?

Aerospace group EADS, owner of plane maker Airbus, thinks it has come up with the answer - a hypersonic jet that flies above the atmosphere yet still takes off from a regular runway. "It is not a Concorde but it looks like a Concorde, showing that aerodynamics of the 1960s were already very smart," Jean Botti, EADS chief technical officer, has said.

By flying above the atmosphere and using biofuel to get the plane off the ground, the group hopes to avoid the supersonic boom and pollution Concorde was notorious for.

The plane, being developed in collaboration with Japan, is being primarily designed for the business market and could carry 50 to 100 passengers.

The concept project, known as ZEHST (zero emission high speed transport), comes as companies like Virgin Galactic push forward with plans to take paying customers up on commercial space flights.

The project is being developed using research from EADS space arm Astrium.

Unlike those Virgin Galactic customers, EADS said the ZEHST would have a maximum acceleration of 1.2 g-force, meaning passengers would not need any training to fly.

The plane will take off using a regular turbofan engine, before rocket boosters kick in to start a sharp ascent, sending the plane soaring to above the atmosphere.

Ramjet engines, now used in missiles, will then take the plane up to altitudes of 32 kilometers as the plane cruises at speeds four times the speed of sound. EADS boss Louis Gallois said it could be 30 to 40 years before commercial flights are a reality.

Email Story    Printable View    Blog Story    Copy Headline/URL

Advanced Search