Reading The aircraft of the future fly seven times faster than the sound and reach every place in the world in just over two hours. Even faster ones could even leave the Earth's atmosphere and fly to the International Space Station ISS. These visions of so-called hypersonic aircraft are presented by Nasa at the Airshow of the Experimental Aviation Association in Oshkosh (USA), which started on Tuesday (23 July). According to the plans of the US Space Agency, prototypes of larger hypersonic aircraft are due to start at the end of the decade. A flight from Germany to the United States would take no longer than a subway ride through Berlin, a trip to Australia would be just a two-hour short trip. These aircraft are brought to such high speeds by so-called breathing engines: Unlike conventional rocket engines, they draw the oxygen needed for the combustion of fuel from the air and do not have to carry it in separate tanks.

Only at ten to fifteen times the speed of sound and to leave the Earth's atmosphere would then have to be switched to conventional rocket engines. From the "Hyper-X" mentioned development series is to emerge in ten years, a successor to the used for decades space shuttles.

ddp / bdw? Ulrich Dewald

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