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  • Boeing Hypersonic Airliner

    Boeing's Hypersonic Vision: A Sleek Passenger Plane That Can Hit Mach 5
    By Tariq Malik, Space.com Managing Editor | June 29, 2018 04:56pm ET

    Boeing has dreams of a hypersonic passenger plane, and it looks like something straight out of science fiction.
    The hypersonic aircraft could have "military or commercial applications" and is just one of several such vehicles Boeing engineers are studying to develop superfast transportation technology, the company said in a statement. In an artist's concept, the plane looks sleek and futuristic, with extremely swept-back wings, twin tails and sharp, pointed nose.
    Hypersonic aircraft are capable of traveling at speeds of Mach 5 and beyond. Mach 5 is about five times the speed of sound, or 3,806 mph (6,125 km/h) at sea level. NASA's space shuttles, for comparison, traveled at Mach 25 when re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. The U.S. military has tested hypersonic weapons that hit Mach 20 in the past.

    Boeing unveiled its hypersonic passenger plane concept Tuesday (June 26) in Atlanta at the 2018 Aviation and Aeronautics Forum hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
    "We're excited about the potential of hypersonic technology to connect the world faster than ever before," Kevin Bowcutt, Boeing's senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics, said in a statement. "Boeing is building upon a foundation of six decades of work designing, developing and flying experimental hypersonic vehicles, which makes us the right company to lead the effort in bringing this technology to market in the future."

    While Boeing sets its sights on hypersonic passenger travel, NASA and others are pursuing other projects to advance commercial supersonic travel.
    NASA is building the newly named X-59 QueSST experimental aircraft to test technology needed for quiet supersonic travel. The project aims to minimize the disruptive sonic booms that have prevented commercial supersonic flights over land in the past.

    Meanwhile, the companies Virgin Galactic and Boom are working together on a supersonic jet designed to fly at twice the speed of sound, or Mach 2. The company Spike Aerospace is working on its own supersonic plane, called the S-512 Quiet Supersonic Jet, to shush sonic booms.
    Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

    https://www.space.com/41042-boeing-h...e-concept.html

    Since we actually have ramjets and scramjets now, this actually is a possibility (of at least building the demonstrator in the next 5-10 years, I don't know how much it would actually cost to build a 100 passenger, global range Mach 5 airliner).


    I wonder if Lockheed Martin is also hoping to commercialize their SR-72 tech (the Chinese, who reading the scientific journals and Aviation Week, are the only other big players in scramjet research, might try to do the same thing) though export controls would be very interesting for even civilian flights (though civilian airliners will probably have a top speed of Mach 4-5, for cost reasons in addition to worries in Beijing, Brussels and DC that someone would try to militarize the Boeing XXX or C-9X9).

  • #2
    My guess is not in the next 50 years. Due to the heat from traveling at those speeds, you just can't taxi to the jetway and open the cabin door. The fuels residue would also be toxic. The supply chain would be the most expensive in history.

    Comment


    • #3
      Could they build it? Sure

      The real challenge in the civilian market is making it economical enough to operate that you can turn a steady profit.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
        Could they build it? Sure

        The real challenge in the civilian market is making it economical enough to operate that you can turn a steady profit.
        The only manned aircraft capable of those speeds was the X-15. That was done with a rocket. What engines are they going to use? It's really hard to keep a match lit at Mach 6 plus.

        The infrastructure, from the airport, fuel, to loading and unloading the aircraft would all have to be built from scratch.

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        • #5
          Back in the mid-1980s, I asked Boeing's head of Asia-Pacific if we'd be getting really fast travel across the Pacific in my lifetime.
          He said of course! We have a contract to deliver a prototype to the air force by 2000.
          Trust me?
          I'm an economist!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Dazed View Post
            The only manned aircraft capable of those speeds was the X-15. That was done with a rocket. What engines are they going to use? It's really hard to keep a match lit at Mach 6 plus.

            The infrastructure, from the airport, fuel, to loading and unloading the aircraft would all have to be built from scratch.
            NASA, the USAAF and various Chinese researchers have managed to fly Mach 5-7 scramjets, though granted not at intercontinental ranges.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Skywatcher View Post
              NASA, the USAAF and various Chinese researchers have managed to fly Mach 5-7 scramjets, though granted not at intercontinental ranges.
              Yes, they have been unmanned vehicles. Ballistic is the best description of their controllability. I am sure the US or PRC can come up with a manned aircraft capable of M5-7. But an aircraft capable of carrying passengers in street clothes and going from jetway to jetway? I don't think it will happen in 50 years.

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