New rocketplane 'could fly Paris-Tokyo in 2.5 hours'

June 19, 2011
A computer-generated image from the European defense group EADS shows the so-called "Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation" (Zehst) rocket. The European aerospace giant said it hopes the rocket plane will be able to fly from Paris to Tokyo in 2.5 hours by around 2050.

European aerospace giant EADS on Sunday unveiled its "Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation" (Zehst) rocket plane it hopes will be able to fly from Paris to Tokyo in 2.5 hours by around 2050.

"I imagine the plane of the future to look like Zehst," EADS' Jean Botti said as the project was announced at Le Bourget airport the day before the start of the Paris International Air Show.

The low-pollution plane to carry between 50 and 100 passengers will take off using normal engines powered by made from before switching on its rocket engines at altitude.

The rocket engines, powered by hydrogen and oxygen whose only exhaust is water vapour, propel the plane to a cruising altitude of 32 kilometres (20 miles), compared to today's passenger jets which fly at around 10,000 metres.

"You don't pollute, you're in the stratosphere," Botti said.

To land, the pilot cuts the engines and glides down to Earth before reigniting the regular engines before landing.

EADS hopes to have a prototype built by 2020 and for the plane to eventually enter service around 2050.

The project is being developed in collaboration with Japan and uses technology that is already available.

A four-metre model of the plane, which looks similar to the now defunct Concorde supersonic jet, will be on show at Bourget for the biannual aerospace showcase which begins on Monday and opens to the general public on Friday.

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3.1 / 5 (15) Jun 19, 2011
30 years from prototype to production... Failure!!!
2.8 / 5 (15) Jun 19, 2011
So why is this better than the British Skylon Plane with the single (SABRE) engine which could fly London to Sydney in 2.5 hours? Is also Hydrogen fueled, And could fly by the early 2020's.
3 / 5 (14) Jun 19, 2011
2050....this is pathetic project
who from us, in their 20's , 30's or older cares..
4.1 / 5 (7) Jun 19, 2011
IMO, you're going to need a bit more wing and some stout canards with that weight distribution issue. Or a really, really long landing runway. Or maybe just a really long nose gear? :-)
These ideas have been around since I was a child. Could someone build one, even a working prototype, already?
2.8 / 5 (12) Jun 19, 2011
I do not believe that in the commercial travel world there will ever be enough passengers, who need to get to their destinations that quickly, to cover the cost of more than just a few initial flights - much less regular service, maintenance costs, airline overhead, etc. Meaning? In the highly unlikely chance this project ever takes off (double entendre!), it will have to be government subsidized. That's a problem.

Sure, I'd like to fly in a plane that fast too - but wishes don't make reality, and I don't think this thing will ever be economically feasible - no matter how "green" they try to sell the concept as.
4.5 / 5 (6) Jun 19, 2011
Why carry oxygen when you can get it for free from the upper atmosphere, unless you plan to fly into space? They could cut fuel weight in half or increase payload/range by a similar amount.

I'd like nothing more than to see hypersonic planes getting us to other parts of the world in a fraction of the time, but at least they should look at competing designs to see if they're ahead or behind the curve.
2 / 5 (2) Jun 19, 2011
In the future what will be the point of traveling for most people when the developed world will look much the same everywhere you go?
3.8 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2011
Concorde re-loaded.
5 / 5 (3) Jun 19, 2011
Orbital escape velocity is next on the list of thought progression. Wonder if they'll get their before 2050?
1 / 5 (8) Jun 19, 2011
But they'll be polluting the stratosphere with rocket exhaust (unless they use H2-O2 combi)
4.6 / 5 (8) Jun 19, 2011
This is a European project, so it will probably never happen.
Galileo is years behind schedule and way over budget and is still not usable, sadly this is the case with so many european projects as they require funding and approval from so many countries too much time is wasted on politics and trying to keep everybody happy. If this was being done by america or china I'd have a lot more confidence.
5 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2011
It would be interesting to see what the expected cost of running this would be, flying so much higher may make it cheapr to run, it's a lot faster but there is less drag due to thinner atmosphere, and the energy taken to climb to that altitude is recovered on descent if it cuts the engine and glides.
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 19, 2011
Skype is quicker and cheaper. Not many people on the planet whose physical presence somewhere is sufficiently essential to justify the expense of this but I'm just a Luddite at heart
1 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2011
It would be interesting to see what the expected cost of running this would be, flying so much higher may make it cheapr to run, it's a lot faster but there is less drag due to thinner atmosphere, and the energy taken to climb to that altitude is recovered on descent if it cuts the engine and glides.
If you have to ask then you cant afford a ticket.
IMO, you're going to need a bit more wing and some stout canards with that weight distribution issue. Or a really, really long landing runway. Or maybe just a really long nose gear? :-)
I suppose the shape was the result of at least preliminary engineering which took things like weight distribution and wing loading into consideration? :-|
5 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2011
IMO, the key to making a plane like this economically viable you need the rocket engines to be as easy to maintain as the jet engines. This needs to be a refuel and go airplane to ever dent the commercial market.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2011
Tokyo to Paris is a 12.5 hour trip in a convential jet liner. At 1/6th the trip time a plane like this could do the job of 4-5 conventional jets, but only with a very short turn around time.
1 / 5 (2) Jun 19, 2011
Ya, I read about these hyper jets 20 years ago.

The failure of Concord showed why they were economic dogs and would never be built.
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 19, 2011
What do you mean by ZERO emission...doesn't it release HEAT...there's you emission... you crazy GREEN/politically/CARBON NEUTRAL maniacs!
3 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2011
I can't see any international flight carrying 50~100 passengers being economically viable unless the tickets are extremely expensive.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2011
...and what materials will they make this from?

This has always been the problem with building anything that flies this fast.

I can well imagine that certain economies can be found by going in to a ballistic sub-orbital trajectory. Nevertheless, the speed has to be bled off somehow upon re-entry in to the earth's atmosphere. It won't be as bad as coming down from orbit, but it will be significant.

Thus the question remains: what are they going to build it out of?
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 19, 2011
What the heck takes 30 years? Didnt we go to the moon within 10 or so years of effort. Im hoping there will be a space elevator and a morphic space station made of nanobots by then!
4.3 / 5 (3) Jun 20, 2011
Hey everybody on this board, this plane isn't meant for you. Of course, I'm assuming none of you are billionaires. Most of us spend time on these forums because we have nothing else to do, but when you're ultra wealthy, which you'll need to be to fly on one of these things, there is just too much fun stuff to do. But I'm glad that the best and brightest engineers have been drawn into yet another project that caters to the needs of the obscenely rich while the rest of the world is swirling down the drain.
3 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2011
Zero Emissions? Half-truths! There's going to be emissions created when you produce the H2 necessary to fuel this plane. Not to mention that the production of bio-fuels isn't nearly as enviro-friendly as it's proponents would have you believe.
"You don't pollute, you're in the stratosphere," Botti said.
"Non-Sequitur" comes to mind. The stratosphere is still part of the earth system. Pollutants that high up may be even more harmful than those on the ground as there's no life to "scrub" them.
I hope this idea gets shot down faster than I do when asking for a date.
1 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2011
We are having some problems with our hypersonic model plane. Gets better every time though when we go to Oz with it and test out our newest improvements. By 2050 we will have some totally new tech that will make a dino out of this, like a crossfire fusion standing wave propelentless drive true space shuttle/starship....depending on size. Look at how cars changed from 1908 to 1950, and rockets from the 1929 Goddard model that looked like an old TUMS ad to the 1970's Saturn V.
1 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2011
Hmmm Herr Hitler and his genius types had similar ideas...

Every 3rd edition of popular mechanics or similar - for the last 50 years, has run the same stories since.

This is just more pie in the sky bullshit.
1 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2011
I don't mind 12 hours, it is the quality of the flight rather than the duration that maters. Just make bigger planes spacious monsters that 300 people can all walk around in at the same time, sit in lounge chairs, nap in beds. I bet it would cost much less than building this and I bet a lot of people would opt to pay a couple hundred more for actual comfort. Airplanes that carry a bunch of millionaires who pay $30,000 a flight is just wasteful decadent selfishness. And any government who wants to take tax dollars to do it has seriously lost touch.
not rated yet Jun 20, 2011
39 years?! Puhleeze. I'll be sending my quantum entangled biosynthetic avatar to Mars long before then.
1 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2011
Pipe dream. The economics won't work. Nor is this thing green. After all, energy will be used to isolate the hydrogen and oxygen as well as to create the bio-fuel.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 20, 2011
They just need to install a Mr. Fusion.
not rated yet Jun 21, 2011
"and what materials will they make this from?" - Ab3A

Solid Flatch.
not rated yet Jun 27, 2011
I imagine they are saying they can get one working by 2020, but they predict it won't be cost effective to build them for commercial use until 2050 (i.e. estimations on when the materials and manufacturing processes will make it affordable to compete with other planes, things their R&D alone can't control). I can't imagine they would think they need 30 years to work out technical design kinks from prototype to production model. But, that's just a guess, otherwise I'd have to agree it's a pretty fail time table.
not rated yet Jun 27, 2011
What will they make it from? Well, first they'll need an interocitor with Bead condenser (model #:AB-619), a
Cathermin tube with inindium complex of 4 and an
Intensifier disk. PM me when the parts come in.
1 / 5 (1) Jul 05, 2011
The parts came in, but they're locked inside a box that needs a hand-print ID to open... the strange thing is it appears to be a three-fingered hand...
not rated yet Jul 05, 2011
... Get Leonard Nimoy on the phone! There's no time to waste!
1 / 5 (1) Jul 07, 2011
Leonard! Leonard! We need you to do that Hebrew "Shin" hand-sign thing you do and put it in that lock!


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