Flying at hypersonic speed could revolutionize transportation, but there are incredible engineering and logistical challenges we need to get through first. So, how close are we to hypersonic travel?
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Boeing’s planned hypersonic airliner could fly from NYC to London in two hours
“Boeing has unveiled plans for what could be the world’s first hypersonic airliner, a sleek, futuristic-looking craft that the Seattle-based company said would be capable of flying five times the speed of sound, or about 3,800 miles per hour.
At that speed — Mach 5 in aviation parlance — it would be possible to travel from New York City to London in about two hours instead of the eight hours the trip takes on a conventional airliner”
NASA Armstrong Fact Sheet: X-15 Hypersonic Research Program
“These experiments – 28 of them - ranged from astronomy to micrometeorite collection. They included tests of horizon definition and proposed insulation that bore fruit in the navigation equipment and thermal protection used on the Saturn launch vehicles in the Apollo program, which dispatched 12 astronauts to the moon and back. Among the 12 was Neil Armstrong, the first human to step on the moon’s surface and a former X-15 pilot who also flew many other research aircraft at the Flight Research Center.”
Air-breathing planes: the spaceships of the future?
“A popular solution to this problem is the scramjet, which does not slow air down very much, but instead quickly mixes the fast-flowing air with fuel together to create thrust. But scramjets are only useful above Mach 5, meaning another system, perhaps a conventional rocket, is needed to propel the plane to hypersonic speeds.”
How close are we to colonizing the moon, mapping the human brain and curing cancer? Join Seeker as we go in search of experts, academics and innovators who are racing to solve some of humanity’s biggest scientific challenges. We’ll dive into the facts and comb through the research to find the answers you’re looking for.
Seeker explains every aspect of our world through a lens of science, inspiring a new generation of curious minds who want to know how today’s discoveries in science, math, engineering and technology are impacting our lives, and shaping our future. Our stories parse meaning from the noise in a world of rapidly changing information.
Special thanks to Maren Hunsberger for hosting this episode of Seeker!
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