So, you’re a businessman in London with a crucial dinner in Tokyo just hours away. Even allowing for the nine-hour time difference, you won’t be needing to reset your morning alarm as you’ll be on the ground and knocking back the sake just two hours after take-off, thanks to hypersonic flight. At Mach 6 (4567mph), this hypersonic craft would be three times as fast as Concorde. It will be so fast it will have to be clad in a skin made from titanium crystals wrapped in carbon fiber to resist the extreme friction heat such speeds will create.
Here’s what Dr Phillip Atcliffe, senior lecturer in aeronautical engineering at Salford University, has to say: ‘”There’s a lot of technology to be developed and we have to have governments and companies who are prepared to research and design it – and then airlines to buy it.” But he believes that if the money were available – and we are talking serious money – a hypersonic passenger jet would not be unfeasible. It could even be developed by 2030.’