In the not-too-distant future, rocket flights which blast passengers briefly through space will start to replace long-haul flights, analysts have predicted.
UBS predicts that by 2030, the market for high speed travel via space will be worth at least $20 billion – and will seriously compete with long haul flights.
The analysts pointed to plans from Elon Musk’s Space X to use the Starship rocket to fly up to 100 people from New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes – or London to New York in 29.
The analyst firm predicts that long-haul flights over 10 hours will be ‘cannibalised’ by point-to-point rocket travel.
UBS analysts Jarrod Castle and Myles Walton wrote, ‘While space tourism is still at a nascent phase, we think that as technology becomes proven, and the cost falls due to technology and competition, space tourism will become more mainstream.
‘Space tourism could be the stepping stone for the development of long-haul travel on earth serviced by space.’
NASA is also investigating a ‘quiet’ supersonic jet which could reignite supersonic travel.
NASA has already conducted initial tests over the Texas Gulf Coast – with two FA-18 jets climbed to 55,000 feet and diving to replicate the ‘sonic thump’.
The Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) design could hit supersonic speeds over land – without people on the ground hearing a sonic boom.
NASA hopes that this will allow it to establish an ‘acceptable’ noise level – and overturn regulations banning supersonic travel over land.