Picture this, you’ve to attend an important business meeting in London and you’re running late, and you don’t exactly have 8 hours to spare for a regular flight, what do you do?
Well, it’s simple. You hop on to Antipode- a plane that can get you from New York to London in just 20 minutes! (Yes, that’s right)
For those of you who think that we’re talking gibberish, relax, coz Antipode is a reality even Jetsons can’t deny.
Brainchild of a Canadian designer Charles Bombardier, Antipode would take off from a normal runway and use rocket boosters to reach a speed of Mach 5 (3836.35 miles per hour) before a supersonic combustion ramjet engine would help it to climb to 40,000 feet (12 kilometres) and reach to a super-speed of Mach 24 (18414.5 miles per hour). At this speed, Antipode will be running 10 times faster than Concorde, a British-French passenger jet airliner that could run at a speed of Mach 2, and 21 times the speed of sound (340.29 metres per second).
However, at this point, the aircraft would face another problem- immense heat and sonic shockwaves generated due to breaking the sound barrier. To reduce the surface temperature and shockwaves, Antipode would use a novel aerodynamic phenomenon called long penetration mode or LPM to channel some of the air, flowing at supersonic speed, through a nozzle located on the nose of the aircraft.
To land, the rocket boosters, that helped the plane reach altitude would be separated from the Antipode and fly back to the airbase.
The plane would also have a set of emergency compact rocket boosters, similar to the ones used in the EZ-Rocket from X-COR, to slow the plane down and help it make a second attempt at landing.
Antipode’s design is based on the concept of a hypersonic aircraft called Skreemr, that faced the problem of sonic boom noise at high speeds.
In an interview to BBC, Bombardier admitted that it wasn’t a practical idea but a concept.
“I know that it’s not going to lead to the exact aircraft at the end, but it might help to develop new technologies and new processes. If it does, then that I’m happy that I did something to help society,” he said.