Concorde Replacement Eyed

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Paris To Tokyo In Two Hours...

As a British Airways Concorde was barged to its new home alongside the Intrepid Museum in New York, the corporate descendents of its creator were musing about an even more spectacular sequel to the now-retired supersonic airliner. European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) is considering building a hypersonic airliner capable of flying 7,000 miles at almost Mach 4 (twice the speed of Concorde). It's considering a partnership with Japan in the development of the plane, which would carry 300 passengers (almost three times that of Concorde) and make the trip from Paris to Tokyo in two hours. Just how it would hit those numbers is another matter. EADS CEO Philippe Camus said the current market won't support such an aircraft, but it might be the current technology he's really talking about. That type of performance is beyond anything currently on the shelf and might await development of the scramjet. Scramjets use atmospheric oxygen to give rocket-like performance in a lightweight package. So far, there's only been one successful test of a scramjet, by the University of Queensland in Australia, but NASA is poised to enter the fray in a big way.