It looks like the Europervs got a bad case of penis envy: They are now working on a suborbital plane—in the image—similar to the SpaceShipTwo and a hypersonic passenger plane called SpaceLiner.
The project—called Future High-Altitude High-Speed Transport 20XX (the XX standing for who-the-heck-knows-when-this-is-going-to-happen) has an initial investment $US9.68 million to work on the concepts.
The suborbital plane will be based on the glide-and-landing Phoenix, an aircraft that was designed by DLR aerospace and aeronautics giant EADS, manufacturers of the Airbus fleet. But while this one will be very similar to SpaceShipTwo, the SpaceLiner is completely different (and weird). There will be a first stage, a large booster, with the actual vehicle on top carrying 50 passengers.
The SpaceLiner will launch vertically and take 90 minutes to fly from any city in Europe to Australia, and will be reusable 150 times, needing its engines replaces every 25 flights.
Sounds crazy? I don't care. I want a ride. [Flighglobal]