Chinese company Space Transportation has some big plans. They’re currently developing a “rocket with wings” for space tourism as well as point-to-point travel.
In a recent interview with the Yicheng Times, the company said the ship would have lower costs than rockets that carry satellites and faster speeds than traditional aircrafts. Usually we’d take something like this with a grain of salt, but these folks can build a skyscraper in like 20 days. So, I trust that they can do this too.
The space plane would aim to provide rapid transportation between two locations on Earth through suborbital travel and they would be fully reusable.
Meant to be able to fly between Beijing and New York in an hour, the “rocket with wings” is claimed to fly at an insane 7,000 mph. That’s Mach 9.12 – which is over nine times the speed of sound. For reference, the Concorde has a top speed of 1,354 mph. That’s a pedestrian Mach 2.04 by comparison.
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A video on Space Transportation’s website shows what their – needless to say – ambitious plan is. The animation shows passengers boarding a plane attached to a wing powered by rockets. After a vertical takeoff, the plane detaches from the rocket-powered wing, like boosters, and continues its suborbital journey to Dubai. At the end it lands vertically on three legs that deploy from the rear.
Beijing Lingkong Tianxing Technology Co., Ltd. (the company’s full name) says ground tests are planned by 2023. In 2024 they’ll have their first flight, and in 2025 they’ll send their first crew.
If that wasn’t enough, a test flight of an orbital crewed space vehicle is planned for 2030.
This may all seem a bit fast for a company that was first founded just four years ago in 2018. But, China being China, they’ve got the money to back them up. The company announced last August they’ve raised over $46 million for their grand plans.