Hypersonic Passenger Jet
The LAPCAT A2 is a proposed jet that could whisk passengers around the globe at a dizzying 6100km/h, about five times the speed of sound.
The A2 project - ponderously titled Long-Term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies (LAPCAT) - was funded by the European Space Agency, which challenged scientists to produce a commercial jet using space-travel technology.
Supersonic aviation as a workable model may have ended prematurely with the death of the Concord, but that didn't stop other people from attempting to bring back the hypersonic civil transportation. The LAPCAT project is a study, funded by Europa General R&D, that seeks to determine whether or not it is possible to create a plane that can cover long distances in a very short amount of time. The result? The A2 Mach 5 Civil Transport Concept.
Aside from being fast, the new jet would also be clean and green, burning a liquid-hydrogen fuel that gives off water vapor and nitrous oxide (laughing gas), instead of polluting carbon emissions. At 142 meters in length, the A2 would be about twice the length of the Airbus A380, the largest airliner in service today.
The term hypersonic flight relates to speeds above Mach 5, a velocity at which friction can cause an aircraft's wings to heat to 1000C.
Unfortunately, attaining such external temperatures would mean doing without windows, but designers may put flat-screen televisions where the windows would be, giving the impression of seeing outside.
Despite being capable of traveling at twice the speed of its predecessor, The Concorde, the A2 would be quieter. Senior engineer and managing director Alan Bond said the A2 could be here within 25 years.