Some researchers are working on a new generation of supersonic airliners, capable of speeds between Mach 1 and Mach 5. Others are dreaming bigger, NBC News reports.
Last year, Boeing unveiled a design for a plane capable of reaching Mach 5, the low end of a realm known as hypersonic speed. And the Stratofly MR3, a 300-passenger airliner under development by a European consortium that includes the German Aerospace Center, the French Aerospace Lab and eight other universities and research organizations, would fly faster still.
Stratofly would likely be reserved for longer journeys. It could zip from New York City to Sydney, Australia, in about three hours, according to the consortium, or make the trip from Los Angeles to Tokyo in about an hour and 45 minutes.
Later this year, the Stratofly consortium plans to begin wind tunnel tests of the engine components. But it will take many years to bring Stratofly to life. The key technologies might not be ready until 2035, Viola says, with another decade needed before flight tests are completed and the plane is ready to carry passengers.