The UK's Hypersonic Airplane Design

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Reaction Engines of Oxford, United Kingdom, says its A2 design could carry 300 passengers at close to 4,000 miles per hour, flying from Belgium to Australia in about five hours ... 25 years from now. "Our work shows it is possible, technically. Now it's up to the world to decide if it wants it," Reaction's head, Alan Bond, told CanadianContent.net. The 470-foot long Mach 5 aircraft would stretch more than twice the length of the Airbus A380 and have a range of more than 12,400 miles cruising within the earth's atmosphere. Passengers could expect to pay less than $7,000 for the honor of riding the windowless beast, according to Reaction. And that cost is not tied to the cost of fossil fuels, as the A2's engines will burn liquid hydrogen, the cost of which Reaction hopes will decline in coming years. Reaction says the aircraft would escape earshot at .9 Mach before lighting it up over the North Pole and heading over the Pacific at Mach 5. Sensitive to the laws of physics (and the heat generated by high-speed atmospheric flight) the craft substitutes windows with display screens connected to cameras strategically placed on the outside of the aircraft for those who want to see what's passing by at five times the speed of sound.