Last week @mauromar brought us an article with the latest news regarding how SpaceX has been awarded a contract by the US Air force to demonstrate point to point transportation technologies.
What do we mean with point to point transportation? Basically the idea would be to fly very high, over the edge of Space, to be able to reduce drastically the time of flight.
US military wants to explore the field, mostly centred into the heavy transport fast delivery in case of conflict or emergency, but until now it looked like they were taking it easy.
Field can change if competition strikes and that it is so great so see announcements like the one done by the Chinese company Lingkong Space Transportation. One of their officials recently claimed "We are developing a rocket with wings to achieve high-speed point-to-point transportation, which is less expensive than rockets carrying satellites and faster than traditional aircraft."
They raised 46 million last year, and their objective now is to complete the ground tests of a large-size booster carrier before 2023, verify various key technologies for high-speed point-to-point transportation and finally achieve the first flight of this booster by the end of 2023. Final objective would be to fly the transportation vehicle in 2024 to finally complete the flight test of the high-speed manned vehicle prototype around 2030. That is very soon!
The company is a young company founded in 2018, but they have already tested some of their smaller winged rockets. Their system right now tries to demonstrate the reusability of the rocket that is recovered after gliding back and using a parachute.
If these kind of announcements keep coming, maybe a new race for space transportation is triggered, advancing the development of this technology. It will not be easy because costs can get to be as expensive as satellite insertion in orbit. Additionally, the operations take place partly on the airspace and partly in space bringing another problem: a regulatory one . But some analysts claim there is a huge potential market out there.
What do you think? Will we see the first commercial flights from San Francisco to Shanghai in 45 minutes?