Reality check: Point-to-pointless travel? Credit: Adobe Stock via CSIS

 

There is increasing interest in hurling people and cargo around the Earth, arriving at any location on the planet within 30 to 45 minutes.

For one, that’s just enough time to open that impenetrable package of peanuts typically dispensed on airliners today.

 

Grand dreams

Recently, SpaceX’s Elon Musk served up a good helping of his vision for suborbital transportation.

Credit: SpaceX

But Musk’s vision isn’t the first to fly, points out Kaitlyn Johnson, a research associate with the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. “Many are skeptical of its fruition, having heard these grand dreams before,” she explains.

X-30: This joint effort by NASA, the Department of Defense, and five major contractors explored development of technologies for a new generation of aerospace vehicles for hypersonic cruise in the atmosphere or single-stage-to-orbit using air breathing primary propulsion and horizontal takeoff and landing. A full-scale aircraft was never built as Congress ended funding in 1994, cancelling the program to build a vehicle to fly at Mach 25.
Credit: Rockwell/NASA

 

 

 

 

However, with the advent of suborbital transportation technologies, Johnson adds, “the U.S. Government should further work with industry to begin developing the regulations and standards necessary for such activities.”

 

 

Resources

Check out Johnson’s review of the promise of rapid transportation around the planet — Around the World in 60 Minutes (Or Less!) – by clicking on:

https://aerospace.csis.org/around-world-60-minutes-less/

Also, check out this video at:

https://aerospace.csis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/SpaceX_final03.gif

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