Skip navigation
D. Swinging Over The Atmosphere. The story on Science Today.

Narrator: This is Science Today. A hypersonic aircraft that can travel ten times the speed of sound by skipping across the atmosphere, has actually been designed - but it'll be a while before passengers can book quick flights across the globe. Aerospace engineer Preston Carter of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who designed HyperSoar, says that's because there are several logistics that need to be worked out.

Carter: HyperSoar is a long, slender shape. Engineers call it a wave rider and it's kind of an interesting shape in that a wave rider creates a shock wave as it flies through the atmosphere and the vehicle actually rests upon that shock wave and rides kind of like a surfboard rides on a wave.

Narrator: Passengers would experience twenty seconds of weightlessness every two minutes - sort of like being on a swing.

Carter: Some people speculate they'll get motion sickness. That might be true. People wonder how you move around. Good questions! I think all this stuff is doable, but it will have to evolve.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.