The SpaceLiner, which is being developed by the Institute of Space Systems at the German Aerospace Center, could allow passengers to board in Europe, sit back, and disembark 90 minutes later on the other side of the world, in Australia. CREDIT: DLR

Hypersonic ‘SpaceLiner’ Aims to Fly Passengers in 2050

by Jeremy Hsu, Senior Writer
Date: 24 January 2013 Time: 11:36 AM ET

A hypersonic “SpaceLiner” would whisk up to 50 passengers from Europe to Australia in 90 minutes. The futuristic vehicle would do so by riding a rocket into Earth’s upper atmosphere, reaching 24 times the speed of sound before gliding in for a landing.

Many challenges still remain, including finding the right shape for the vehicle, said Martin Sippel, project coordinator for SpaceLiner at the German Aerospace Center. But he suggested the project could make enough progress to begin attracting private funding in another 10 years and aim for full operations by 2050.

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