By Khulile Thwala
A new hypersonic jet is being developed, which will be faster than the previous fastest jet, the Concord.
The ‘space plane’ as it is affectionately known is projected to fly from New York to London in one hour. Fuelled by a combination of oxygen and hydrogen, this hypersonic jet can travel at Mach 5.4 – or 4 000 mph. That is five times the speed of sound.
Reaction Engines, a British aerospace company based out of Oxford, is developing the jet for commercial use.
According to SupercarBlondie, it’s a tall order, but it’s a potential game changer because the plane would be greener and faster than anything else out there.
At that speed, nearly every route you can think of could be covered in an hour or less, and you could virtually fly anywhere in the world in less than three hours.
Engine-wise, the hypersonic space plane, also known as the SABRE, uses incoming air (ie, full of oxygen) combined with tiny tubes of cooled helium.
Reaction Engines’ director Shaun Driscoll says they need to prioritise the engine cooling system above anything else.
“Our pre-cooler takes the air that arrives at 1,000 degrees centigrade and cools it down to zero in one-twentieth of a second,” Driscoll said.