In the future, a journey from Beijing to New York could take you through the suborbital space.
The Chinese aerospace company Space Transportation is developing a “rocket with wings” design for space tourism and incredibly fast passenger transport, similar to the famous SpaceX concept unveiled in 2017.
According to a report by Space.com, the fully reusable spaceplane would enable rapid point-to-point travel between 2 locations on Earth via suborbital flight, and the manned test flight could take place as early as 2025.
A reusable rocket for point to point transportation
A dramatic CGI video presentation on the Space Transportation website shows passengers board a plane attached to a large triangular paraglider-like wing equipped with 2 large rocket boosters. After takeoff, the plane detaches from the wing & flies via suborbital space. The wing lands safely on Earth as the space plane heads towards its destination. Once there, it performs a vertical landing using a technique similar to that used in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster landings.
In an interview with The Yicheng Times, a spokesman for the company said, “We develop a winged rocket for point to point, high-speed transportation, which is lower in terms of costs than rockets carrying the rockets that carry satellites & faster than standard aircraft.” The company’s website shows the space plane will travel at speeds of around 4,184 km/h, meaning it would fly 2x as fast as a speed of Concorde and, in theory, could fly from New York to London in about an hour.
In 2030 space tourism and transportation could take-off
Space Transportation says it aims to perform ground tests by 2023 before proceeding with its first test flight in 2024. All going according to plan, a manned test flight will then take place in 2025. According to SpaceNews, Space Transportation announced in August that it had raised $46.3 million for its hypersonic space plane. The company has also recently conducted test flights on its Hypersonic Tianxing 1 & Tianxing 2 vehicles, although it has revealed some information about these tests.
In 2017, SpaceX proposed a concept similar to space transportation called “Earth to Earth”. The company announced that it could transport passengers from city to city with its new Starship rockets. In addition, the company founded by Elon Musk claimed that it could transport passengers anywhere on Earth in less than an hour. However, SpaceX has shared little information since announcing that initial concept.
Another company that uses space plane, Virgin Galactic, recently launched its CEO, Richard Branson, and other passengers into suborbital space for the purpose of space tourism. Although the technology is currently reserved for the world’s wealthiest – a ticket on a Virgin Galactic spaceplane can cost up to $450,000 – the next decade will likely see more and more space tourism & transportation flights. hit suborbital space.