Suborbital flight could reduce London-Sydney trip to two hours in 10 years

According to a recent study, suborbital travel could be available within a decade, opening up the potential of travelling between London and Sydney in under two hours. Research from King’s College London has found that most people would be able to cope with the G-forces experienced during the launch and descent of suborbital flights, which are currently offered to tourists at a steep price tag. 


The study saw 24 people aged between 32 and 80 subjected to G-forces of around 4G (mimicking launch) and 6G (mimicking descent) in a centrifuge. The study found that the G-forces cause blood to pool away from the brain, reduce oxygen intake, make it more difficult to breathe, and affect heart rhythm. 


This can cause increases in heart rate and blood pressure, a drop in blood oxygen, and “greying out” of peripheral vision. Dr Ryan Anderton, medical lead for space flight at the CAA, believes that physiological responses will likely be benign for most passengers. He suggests that simple measures such as tensing or squeezing lower legs or buttocks while the onset of high G forces are sufficient to reduce the impact.


Current flights between Sydney and London take around 22 hours and 50 minutes, with the world record time being 17 hours and three minutes set by Concorde in 1985. Qantas' Project Sunrise, which aims to fly non-stop between Sydney and London on Airbus A350-1000 aircraft by the end of 2025, is expected to reduce flight times to between 18 and 20 hours.

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