ZEHST: a nonpolluting rocket plane
Date : 6/18/2011
The Zehst will not be a supersonic aircraft like the Concorde, but a hypersonic craft. With 4.800 km/h speed, this rocket plane will be able to exceed Mach 4, four times the speed of sound. Thus flying from Paris to Tokyo could be performed in a mere 2.5 hours, instead of 11 hours flight today. As for comparison, the Concorde claimed a cruising speed of 2.700 km/h.

According to projections, the aircraft should measure close to 80 meters in length. A model of the plane was unveiled Monday June 20, 2011 at Le Bourget. Its shape closely resembles that of the Concorde. As an environmentally friendly aircraft discharging zero emissions of CO2, the zehst should be endowed with many engines. The first engine, used during lift off, will be fueled by bio-fuels composed of algae. During its increase in altitude, the aircraft will then switch to motors resembling that of a rocket, which run on hydrogen and oxygen. Propelled by motors known as Ramjets (which are now used in cruise missiles), the plane reaches its cruising altitude at 32 km above sea level. With a holding capacity of 50 to 100 people, the hypersonic plane should be able to seat 50 to 100 passengers. The long-term objective is to seat upwards to 200 passengers, the holding capacity of a normal mid-sized commercial aircraft. Also, the plane should be able to function without a pilot. Commercial distribution is scheduled for 2050 so for now, the plane of the future is still in its developing stages. However, according to EADS, this project has a good chance of succeeding as the necessary technologies have already been developed. Therefore, its start-up is set for 2050. Until then, the European aeronautics team is planning for the construction of a prototype for 2020, and a trial run ten years later. The use of Kerosene is forbidden in the monogram: ZEHST, which stands for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation. Other contributors to this project include; the Japanese aeronautic industry, the management department of civil aviation (DGAC) and Onera, the French aerospace research center. EADS has decided to construct an aircraft that will reach altitudes that no other commercial plane has ever attained: 32 km above sea level- compared to 11 km above sea level for a normal commercial aircraft.

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