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Hypersonic Planes In Our Future?

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Where do you draw the line between science fiction and imminent possibility? Well, wherever you draw it, the A2 can get there in 5 hours. When completed, the new hydrogen-fueled rocket plane is intended to fly from Brussels to Australia in 4 hours and 40 minutes. Senior engineer Alan Bond shared details with the Guardian today: “The A2 is designed to leave Brussels international airport, fly quietly and subsonically out into the north Atlantic at mach 0.9 before reaching mach 5 across the North Pole and heading over the Pacific to Australia.”

Though it could be 25 years before this kind of air travel is available to mainstream consumers, the A2 technology has another thing going for it: Being liquid hydrogen-powered, its exhaust contains only water vapor and a small amounts of nitrous oxide. But before you get too excited about green, high-speed travel, keep in mind that it still currently takes plenty of carbon-based energy to produce that kind of fuel, something which scientists are working to overcome. Or to quote Bond, “Our work shows that it is possible technically; now it’s up to the world to decide if it wants it.” Well it’s no HoverBoard, but I think you can count on the SciFi community’s support!

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