Boeing engineers are working on a design for a hypersonic airliner that would travel at speeds up to Mach 5 at altitudes up to 95,000 feet, according to a talk given this week at a conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, in Atlanta. The aircraft would cross the Atlantic in about two hours, and the Pacific in about three. “We’re excited about the potential of hypersonic technology to connect the world faster than ever before,” said Kevin Bowcutt, Boeing’s chief scientist of hypersonics. First flight for the concept is still 20 to 30 years away, Bowcutt said.

The passenger concept could have military or commercial applications, Boeing said, adding that this design is just one of several hypersonic vehicle concepts its engineers are studying, which span a wide range of potential applications. The company’s engineers are working now to develop enabling technology that will position the company to be competitive when the market is ready for hypersonic flight. The concept, along with other new technology from the company, will be on display at Farnborough Airshow in July.

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