Supersonic Flights Across the Earth

Source:  Virgin Galactic

Flying Public at Supersonic Speeds
NASA is teaming up with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space company to develop high speed technologies for supersonic air travel.  The purpose is to make high Mach speed vehicles for the travelling public here on Earth to get from "Point-to-Point" in vastly reduced times.  NASA and Branson have finalized their collaboration by signing a Space Act Agreement. 

Vision and Goal
Branson's vision for transporting the public at Mach speeds is a "global network of spaceports, transcontinental supersonic space flights and delivering passengers anywhere in the world in a couple of hours".  To achieve this, the aircraft will actually be a spacecraft.

Technological First
The envisioned SST would be a spacecraft that would launch into space from its departure point, then re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and arrive at the destination point for landing.  The flight would happen in a fraction of the time a conventional plane would take. This spacecraft would be a technological first.  The takeoff, space flight, re-entry, landing and reuse as a high speed civilian transportation system has never been achieved.  

SSTs That Respect the Environment
Branson's deal with NASA brings his supersonic travel vision many steps closer to reality.  And Branson says the supersonic spacecrafts that he and NASA develop will be environmentally responsible and sustainable.  No timetable was offered as to when the new collaboration will start delivering new supersonic vehicles.

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