Monday, February 22, 2010

Bring back the Dyna Soar!

Every kid in America in the 1960’s was awestruck by the X-15, and we were eagerly awaiting the successor, the X-20 project, called the “Dyna Soar”.

The Dyna Soar was to be the predecessor of hypersonic transports, commercial aircraft that would tracvel in speeds in excess of 10,000 miles per hour:

A hypersonic transport (HST) can fly from New Tork to Paris in under an hour!

The Dyna Soar was going to travel to the edge of space on a rocket and then glide back to earth for landing, exactly the way that the space shuttles lands!

The X-20 Dyna Soar of 40 years ago

But while the Dyna Soar concept is long forgotten, it now has commercial applications!

Anybody who has even flown the Pacific Ocean knows that 14 hours in a tiny seat is a grueling experience. In fact, that’s how they trained astronauts, teaching them to sits for many hours in a confined space!

Here is a rare video where Air Force General Ben Schriever (the namesake of Schriever Air Force Base, (an amazing golfer who a fought in combat with my father) introduces the first Dyna Soar Astronauts:

Today, there are plenty of businesspeople who would gladly pay $30,000 to fly from New York to Tokyo in 90 minutes . . .

Heck, a first class ticket already costs over $20,000 anyway, so what's another $10k to get there 10 hours sooner?

Of course, they would have to take-off near the ocean so that the sonic boom is done at-sea where is does not scare old ladies.

From supersonic to hypersonic

While the supersonic transport (SST) flew with a limited market, it would be slow compared to a 21st Century Dyna soar that could achieve speeds in excess of 15,000 miles per hour. Today, the USAF is testing military aircraft that can fly at speeds approaching mach 20.

They call it Project Aurora, and as soon as it’s not classified, the civilian applications are staggering!

USAF Project Aurora

These planes will be an instant hit with businessmen who cannot tolerate the 14 hours in a cramped fuselage that it takes to fly to the orient.

Imagine a passenger aircraft that flies faster than an SR-71:

A hypersonic Mach 20 bomber changes the rules of air combat

I have no doubt that the economics are there, we just need access to the government technology for hypersonic commercial flights to become a reality.

A hypersonic commercial transport (HST) from the 2040’s

Man, I hope I live long enough to see these beauties, flying at over 15,000 miles per hour: