A new hypersonic jet, dubbed ZEHST for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation and will reach speeds of 3,125 mph, or roughly four times the speed of sound (Mach 4). The project calls for the development of an aircraft that would travel just outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and emit little to no pollution, while officials admit that commercial flights on the aircraft could still be decades away, they are adamant that the technology involved isn’t simply the stuff of science fiction………..
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’ chief technical officer 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 biofuel made from seaweed 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.