Future travelers may fly from London to Sydney in just two hours via space

With the current aviation system, it takes usually around 22 hours to reach Sydney from London. 
Mrigakshi Dixit
Representational image of future space air travel.
Representational image of future space air travel.


Travelers will be able to fly from London to Sydney via space in under two hours in the near future. Yes, you read it right! 

With the advent of space tourism, more and more technological solutions that could significantly cut down the long travel hours are emerging, revolutionizing the aviation industry. 

This intriguing finding stems from a study conducted by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and the results have reportedly been published in the journal Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 

The study highlights, “Commercial suborbital space flights are now available for tourism and scientific research, and are ultimately anticipated to mature into extremely fast point-to-point travel, e.g., London to Sydney in less than two hours.”

With the current aviation system, it usually takes around 22 hours to reach Sydney from London. 

How was the study conducted?

The CAA has been funding medical research to understand the effects of suborbital space flights better. The impact of G-forces (force of gravity) on the human body during suborbital space flights was the focus of this CAA-funded study. The Royal Air Force (RAF) supported this research, which was carried out in collaboration with King's College London. 

For this study, 24 healthy individuals (between 32 to 80) were placed in an RAF centrifuge, a training facility at Cranwell. 

G-forces felt during the launch and descent of suborbital flights were recreated here. 

Surprisingly, the findings revealed that contrary to popular belief, such flights do not necessitate being super-fit or young. It was found that older people may be able to cope better with the effects of space flight. 

As per a report, some of the effects observed among study participants included an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, a drop in blood oxygen, and some signs of "greying out" of peripheral vision during the peak of G-force, but this was only temporary and came back to normal quickly. 

One participant complained of lost consciousness but was brief. With the chair tilted back, the effects of suborbital flights were slightly reduced, noted the study.

Ushering the era of future space tourism?

Currently, commercial suborbital flights may cost a fortune for many. For example, the ones Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic offered cost £350,000 per seat. Furthermore, the current flight infrastructure has limited capacity options. 

However, this new study predicts that the current scenario will change with less expensive options that will be affordable to most of the world's population. 

On the future of space air travel, Paul Kostek, IEEE senior member and advisory systems engineer with Air Direct Solutions LLC (infrastructure), said: “Space tourism will likely grow over the next few decades and reach a level similar to current commercial air travel. As this announcement implies, companies are already exploring the use of rockets for commercial travel between continents, with a high cost for a quick trip. In the future, prices will need to decrease, and there will need to be more availability with backing from the likes of NASA, which will provide more people with the opportunity to see the Earth from lower Earth orbit and increase humanity’s awareness of the planet as a shared place.”

As the frequency of these suborbital flights increases, better logistics and infrastructure facilities will be required. “There will also need to be more space vehicles, launch facilities, and spaceports. Whether launching tourists or satellites into space, increasing the number of spaceports will grow the space travel business and open up a number of opportunities,” Kostek told Interesting Engineering

With the rapid advancement, Earthlings may soon be able to plan "rocket-powered holidays." 

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