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NASA’s Supersonic Commercial Jet Could Fly You From LA To Tokyo In Under 3 Hours
By Alexa Heah, 07 Apr 2021
Image via Aerion
While travel has been on pause for the past year, Florida-based plane maker Aerion has been keeping busy. It expanded its ongoing partnership with NASA’s Langley Research Center, focusing on making Mach 3 to 5-range flight a reality in the commercial scene. If they’re right, we could be able to get from Los Angeles to Tokyo in under three hours – while a typical commercial flight takes about 11 hours at the moment.
Dubbed the AS3, the jet has been touted to be able to achieve speeds between 2,300 to 3,800 miles per hour, ferrying 50 passengers over 7,000 nautical miles. As per CNN, Aerion’s CEO Tom Vice said the company’s vision “is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours.”
Conceptualization and design of the AS3 is still underway, with more details set to be released later this year.
Expected to hit the market sooner is its predecessor, the AS2, another supersonic passenger aircraft that promises to fly eight to 12 passengers between New York and London in 4.5 hours:
The AS2’s maiden flight is set for 2024, with plans to enter the commercial scene in 2026. Big names in the tech industry have partnered with Aerion for the AS2, including GE, which is producing the supersonic engine, and Honeywell, tasked with designing the flight deck.
One of its most outstanding features is its “boomless cruise”, which allows the AS2 to fly supersonically over land without the boom striking the ground. This prevents the jet from producing noise on the ground, as it gets refracted back up into the atmosphere. It's also designed to be eco-friendly, with carbon-neutral flights from day one.
[via CNN and Mashable, cover image via Aerion]
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