A new hypersonic jet design from Airbus, which was just approved by the US Patents and Trademark Office, looks to create something of a successor to the now-retired Concorde. But, rather than flying at a measly Mach 2, the proposed rocket-powered Concorde 2.0 would traverse the skies at Mach 4.5. That’s four and a half times the speed of sound – some 3000mph – and it could take passengers from NYC to London in just one hour.


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The Airbus patent for an “ultra-rapid air vehicle and related method of aerial locomotion” shows a jet that would be powered by three different engines working sequentially to get the craft up in the air, to its cruising altitude, and then to its insanely-fast cruising speed. Can we even call 3000mph “cruising”?

Two turbojets mounted under the fuselage would be used in conjunction with a rocket motor mounted at the rear so as to take off, and would ascend vertically—more in the manner of a space shuttle than an airplane. The turbojets would then shut down and retract into the fuselage, while the rocket engine would lift the aircraft to a cruising altitude of 100,000 feet. And that’s when it gets really curious; hydrogen-powered ramjets, which are more commonly used on missiles, would propel the jet to its cruising speed.

Related: Airbus unveils an incredible plan for a transparent plane

As PatentYogi explains in this excellent video, the trajectory of the flight path “technically makes it the highest rollercoaster in the world,” one in which the 20 passengers on board would be seated in rotating hammocks. While the sonic boom of the original Concorde meant that it could only be flown at high speeds over water, the design for the Concorde 2.0 causes the sonic boom to be disappated in all directions, which Airbus believes would reduce noise pollution from the craft.

Like most patents, it’s entirely possible that such a plane will never enter into production, but as Science Alert points out, technology from this design could well make its way into less extreme products from Airbus.

Via Science Alert

Images screengrab via PatentYogi