. The L5 Development Group is a privately funded, for profit, commercial space exploration and development program. The L5 Development Group - Solutions in Space Hypersonic Transports  

Hypersonic Transports


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Introduction to hypersonic transports (making as opposed to using planes)

In the late 1930's, a German aircraft designer (Sanger) developed the boost/glide vehicle concept: During the first phase of its flight, such an aircraft accelerates rapidly to reach its cruising speed. On attaining that velocity, the engines are shut down, and for the remainder of the flight, the vehicle glides through the atmosphere, using its momentum to reach the selected destination. The idea has been researched extensively, and a workable design is available to build such a vehicle today. Cruising at an altitude of about twenty miles, through the edge of space, it would travel approximately fifteen times the speed of sound (over ten thousand miles per hour!). Such a vehicle could easily traverse the Pacific, traveling from Los Angeles to Tokyo in less than an hour. It would also make commuting from New York to London feasible, since that trip would take about thirty minutes. Perhaps the most incredible feat accomplished by this type of aircraft, the hypersonic transport, is that its operating costs would be approximately half that of a Boeing 747, one of the most efficient one in the air today.

We know how to build hypersonic transports, and the technology is available now that would enable its construction. The major obstacle preventing the vehicle from being introduced is obtaining funding to build operational prototypes, and for final testing that would yield a commercially viable product. Recognizing the tremendous benefits to be gained through use of hypersonic transportation, and of the technology it represents, FKE plans to pursue a program through which it will participate in the aircraft's development.

An airline providing hypersonic transport service between widely separated points on the globe could bring about significant economic changes, simply by reducing the amount of time needed to transport goods and personnel between distant locations. By reducing transatlantic travel time to approximately half an hour, for example, intercontinental commuting could become a viable option! With no two points on the globe more than an hour apart, "just-in-time" manufacturing would take on a whole new meaning, and service calls to distant facilities could be accomplished within a day, rather than within a week.


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