rocket plane

A pollution-free ‘rocket-plane’ code named ZEHST, which could make the flying time from London to Tokyo to just two-and-a-half hours, have been unveiled in Paris.


ZEHST stands for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation, which effectively means that the plane will cause no pollution whatsoever, said Mr Botti of European space agency EADS, and promises to be no louder than today’s modern planes.

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‘I imagine that this is the plane of the future,’ said Jean Botti, as he unveiled the project the day before the Paris Air Show opens.

It will be flying at the edge of space. It won’t be a rocket. It won’t be a plane. It will be a rocket-plane’.

Plans were yesterday unveiled for the first hypersonic passenger jet, which would use three sets of engines to reach 3,125mph, more than four times the speed of sound, known as Mach 4.

Even the journey to Sydney, Australia, which currently take the best part of 24 hours, would be cut to around three-and-a-half. New York would take less than an hour-and-a-half.

Instead it will be powered by oxygen and hydrogen, which will produce an exhaust made of nothing but water vapour.

Its cruising altitude will be 20 miles up, compared to the 32,000 odd feet which passenger jets reach today.

Take-off engines will be powered by biofuel made from seaweed, before rocket engines are used at altitude.

It will be another 40 years before commercial flights take place.