The problem with travel is that sometimes it involves long flight times. Unless you can afford the comforts of business class, safe to say that no one truly enjoys being stuck on an 8-12 hour flight in the cramped seats of economy. However, the good news is that this discomfort could soon be reduced somewhat.
This is according to the UK Space Agency who announced that together with the Australian Space Agency, they will be working on the “world-first Space Bridge”. This comes in the form of the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) engine from Reaction Engines that could potentially reduce the time it takes to fly from London to Sydney by as much as 80%, resulting in a flight time of four hours.
Based on the early tests of the SABRE engine, they have found that in simulated conditions, it could hit Mach 3.3, which is roughly three times the speed of sound and it also makes it 50% faster than the cruising speed of the Concorde. It also matches the speed of the Lockheed R-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet aircraft ever made.
Now, before you get too excited at the idea of supersonic flight, note that we are still a very long way off from it being made a reality. According to Graham Turnock, head of the UK Space Agency, “When we have brought the SABRE rocket engine to fruition, that may enable us to get to Australia in perhaps as little as four hours. This is technology that could definitely deliver that. We’re talking the 2030s for operational service, and the work is already very advanced.”