Flying is an excruciating exercise in misery. But a plane unveiled at the Paris Air Show yesterday promises to speed things up to Mach 4.5, at least reducing our in-air agony.
European aviation giant EADS, parent company of Airbus, is promoting a new concept plane called the ZEHST (for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transport). It’s powered by two jet engines, and three rocket engines (!!!) that work together to fly you 32km/h high in the stratosphere at speeds of up to 4800km an hour.
And that whole zero emissions thing? Not a joke. The jet engines will burn algae-based biofuel, while the rocket engines will burn oxygen and hydrogen, emitting only steam. While EADS expects to have a prototype in the air by 2020, the ZEHST is not expected to enter service until 2050. Which should give Popular Science just enough time to slap on the cover at least once or twice or five hundred times. (I kid! hasn’t the ZEHST been on every single cover of Popular Science already? Of course it has.)