Photos: Hypersonic Jet Could Fly 10 Times the Speed of Sound

A proposed hypersonic plane, dubbed Skreemr, could fly passengers from New York to London in just 30 minutes, traveling at 10 times the speed of sound, or just under 8,000 mph (12,348 km/h). The aircraft concept is designed by Canadian engineer and inventor Charles Bombardier. Check out these artistic renderings of the hypersonic vehicle. [Read full story about the hypersonic Skreemr jet concept]

The concept

The Skreemr is an aircraft concept that would be launched at very high speeds with the help of a magnetic railgun launching system. Rockets would increase the aircraft speed enough to ignite its main scramjet engine, making it possible to travel at 10 times the speed of sound. (Image credit: Ray Mattison)

The background

Bombardier said the Skreemr concept aims to ignite people's imagination around the idea of hypersonic flight. "I added the idea of using a non-rocket space launch system and conventional rockets to accelerate the aircraft initially," Bombardier said. "I am aware that the challenge of defining such an aircraft is very complex, especially at lower altitude where the air is dense and heat accumulates rapidly on all surfaces." (Image credit: Ray Mattison)

How it works

The Skreemr would need to be launched from an electric launch system, according to Bombardier. The jet would then ignite liquid oxygen and kerosene rockets to rise up in altitude and reach a speed of Mach 4 (or maintain it after being released from the railgun). The plane would then ignite its scramjet engine and burn hydrogen and compressed oxygen to continue its acceleration. (Image credit: Ray Mattison)

The future of launches

Scramjet engines are already being developed in the U.S. and China, but it will likely be years before the technology is used on military drones. But, perhaps in the distant future, Bombardier said, they could be used to fly passengers across oceans at very high speeds. (Image credit: Ray Mattison)

What for?

The Skreemr jet would be used as a commercial aircraft to ferry passengers efficiently from one continent to the next. It could carry around 75 passengers and would fly five times faster than the Concorde, a now-retired commercial supersonic jet, according to Bombardier. (Image credit: Ray Mattison)

The Designer

Bombardier introduced his Skreemr concept in a recent column for the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. (Image credit: Ray Mattison)

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