The future of travel will mean flying to the other side of the world without spending a full day in tight quarters. Vice reports that Virgin Galactic plans to offer flights through space, cutting travel times to just a couple of hours. They will be able to fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo in just an hour and from the United Kingdom to Australia in two hours.
The plan is to have a takeoff system similar to the midair launch used by Virgin's SpaceShipTwo. Basically, a large plane will drop the spacecraft in midair and a hybrid rocket engine will ignite.
"You can imagine a SpaceShipThree or a SpaceShipFour going outside the atmosphere, then coming back down outside an urban area and landing," said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic's CEO. "We don't have to accept the status quo. We can imagine a vehicle using liquid oxygen or liquid hydrogen to get us across the Pacific in an hour. You could do that."
The idea is being further researched by the European Space Agency, who said that the launch mechanisms used by Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo are very promising.
The technology is still in the infancy stage, but this type of travel is likely to become possible as space travel becomes more routine.
"It's complicated," Whitesides said. "But space, I think, is not only important for the future of transportation. It's also important for the future of imagination."
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