26 November 2003 was the last flight for the commercial Concorde supersonic airliner. Global dreams of traveling 3 times faster than anything else were seemingly dashed forever.
That was until the 2011 Paris Air Show. Two supersonic jet concepts were announced from EADS and new player HyperMach Europe Aeronautics. Both claim speeds fasters than the Concorde. Both are decades away. More notably, both are promoting these jets as being "green."
EADS, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V., teased their concept called the ZEHST (Zero Emissions Hypersonic Transport). The jet contains three different types of purpulsion systems that will engage at different stages in flight, each quite green. The takeoff enginers use a algae based biofuel. At an altitude of 6km, the Ariane (rocket type) engine using cryogenically stored hydrogen and oxygen liquid fuels. At an altitude of 32km onboard ramjets take over the flight also using hydrogen as the fuel, taking the craft to speeds of up to mach 4 and possibly 5, high enough to not allow for sonic-booms. EADS claims that this method of propulsion will be cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
EADS spokesman Grgor von Kurell said, " We think the three different propulsion types we're considering - one of which we have perfected for the Ariane rocket - could make this achievable by 2050." EADS also claims a London to Tokyo flight of just over 2 hours.
HyberMach's jet concept called the SonicStar differentiates itself distinctly by giving a release date of 2021. This all depends on whether or not they get the funding and partnership. The S-MagJet 4000X engine that pushes this craft is 30% more efficient than the Concorde engine and at twice the speed, Mach 3.6. Another big feature claims it can adjust the sound footprint of the jet, and if need be suppress a sonic-boom.
The SonicStar, using conventional engine technology does seem to be poised for sooner realization. However, in its current design, the SonicStar is only designed to carry 10-20 passengers. Again, putting supersonic flight out of the reach of the global dreamers.