back to article EU funds Antipodes-in-90-mins rocketliner concept

The EU is funding a radical German design for an exo-atmospheric rocketliner capable of making a daily run from Europe to Australia in ninety minutes. The plans might even include winged glider droptanks, recovered in midair after use by aerial tugs. The bad news is, the ship isn't realistically expected in service until 2075 …


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  1. Havin_it


    The droptank looks sad. You can tell, even with three eyes (and enormous ears).

  2. Andy ORourke

    Prior Atr / Copyright issues?

    is it me or does this new design look like the new apple "Power Adaptor" with wings slapped on?

  3. Anonymous John

    "isn't realistically expected in service until 2075."

    WTF? Pathetic! It took about that length of time to go from the first powered flight to the first moonlanding.

    PS. Love the Playmobil reconstruction.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    not happening till 2075?

    I'd expect massive changes so 99% of anything even thought of now will be useless to the actual craft when it's built.. seems like throwing money away (I know it's only a couple of million).

    Why not fund small steps now more and maybe we'll have something like this being practical in 25 years (engine replacements every 25 flights? last 100 flight and have extra planes to tow back the tanks.. err NEVER going to be environmentally efficient and prob 10 times the cost of a Concorde flight).

  5. Gary Owen

    In 2075!!!!

    So we'll still be using rockets in 2075? Yeah right. What a waste of money.

  6. The Badger

    Deluxe Paint

    "That's just the droptank. Wait 'til you see the ship."

    Does the mock-up of the ship also look like it was done using an Atari ST painting package?

    All this horsing around with 15 minutes of sub-orbital weightlessness is a waste of time and money. Why doesn't the EU actually slip Reaction Engines and others with some concrete proposals the cash they need to produce something which won't merely be shown off to the press as examples of "vibrant creativity" or, in the case of the stupid 1000mph rocket car charade, endeavours "inspirational to future generations" (of zero attention span children who might look up from their phone or console for a couple of seconds before continuing towards their destiny as part of whatever lightweight service industry has been prioritised by the vacuous government of the day)?

  7. Anonymous Coward


    The clue is in the "Like Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles".

    It's called "keeping your hand in".

  8. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Just great.

    "Passengers would experience several minutes of weightlessness......"

    During which you get to sit there apprehensively watching the gobs of vomit from first-timers doing their lavalamp impressions in the air above you, in the full and certain knowledge of what's going to happen when those weightless minutes are up.

  9. Andus McCoatover

    Fuc*k that!

    No time for more than a couple of quick G 'n' Ts during flight. Barely time for a 'coupling' for the 500-mile-high club.

    Bright side? I'll be a spirit in the sky well before it gets off the ground. Guess I'll get a great view (unless it fires up from UK, in which case, the "wrong kind of clouds" will bugger it for me.)

  10. Anonymous Coward

    "Mr President, our Germans are better than their Germans"

    "The widows and cripples in old London town

    Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braun."

  11. Chris Miller

    Pointless waste

    Imagine putting a crack team together in 1909 to design a transatlantic aerial transport to be deployed in 1975. What odds would you give on them coming up with a 747?

    Pork-barrel plonkers. They'd be better off working on a transporter network.

  12. Paul Murphy

    150 trips at one a day?

    so that's 3 brand new craft every year

    a new engine a month

    And there's getting rid of all the sick (vomit) bags on each trip as well.

    What's the in-flight movie going to be?

  13. Simon Ball

    2075? That's rediculous...

    What happened to Reaction Engines antipodean rocketliner Skylon derivative (A2, I think it was called) that was being investigated under LAPCAT? That only had a lead time of about twenty years, and was a hell of a lot better thought out. This is pretty damn amateurish by comparison.

  14. Jonathon Green
    Thumb Up

    The concept looks strangely familiar...

    Which I guess just goes to show how far ahead of his time Eugen Sanger was with his original Silbervogel sub-orbital bomber concept in 1942 :-)



  15. Adair Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    But what a way to go... heaven or to hell,

    when those good old LOX tanks blow.

    Whatever that lot are smoking I hope they're having fun.

  16. vic denwood

    Barnes Wallis has designed this already

    I remember an interview on TV when Concorde was just coming into service, and Barnes Wallis pooh-poohed the design as antiquated, becuase he had already designed a sub-orbital airliner to reach Australia in about 2 hours or so. Someone needs to look up his designs and make it happen!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like a ballistic missile?

    Assuming the Missile Defence Agency has came up with something that works by then, I sure wouldn't want to land anywhere near North America!

  18. Chris

    daily rocket service

    Wasn't Heinlein and his contemporaries writing about ballistic rocket passenger service in the 50's? The technology is pretty much the same as an ICBM, except protoplasm has slightly less tolerance for G forces than plutonium.

  19. Warhelmet

    What Would Jesus Say?


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hugely disappointing

    Not the ridiculous timescale, but the drawing.

    When NASA wanted to get Joe Sixpack interested in space they went to Colliers and commissioned magnificent works of art of Werner von Braun's dreams (the ones that didn't involve screaming starving slaves). When Britain was still in the space race, kids could see the Blue Streak wedged in the middle of their Eagle comics with every part from the 0.075" thruster grommit lovingly labelled and described.

    The we got Gerry Anderson hacking Airfix tanks into Eagles, UFO Interceptors and strange purple wigs. Space was exciting, and - in the case of 'UFO', slightly kinky.

    Now this?

    Not even a whiff of dry ice.

    I wouldn't give them a penny until they come up with the X100 Fireblade-Eins - a swoopy thing depicted roaring out of Heathrow in BOAC colours in an artwork so exciting it will moisten even the stoniest of Euro gussets.

    Then they can have a squillion quid. Just so long as Richard Branson isn't allowed anywhere near it.

  21. Anonymous John

    2075 (why isn't that an adequate title?)

    And I suppose you still won't be able to use your mobile phone/Internet brain implant on board either.

  22. It'sa Mea... Mario

    Tomorrow's world

    The concept of 90 minute - just outside of the atmosphere - flights to OZ was shown on Tomorrow's World in the UK about 20ish years ago?

    And they still wanna take another 67 years?

  23. raving angry loony

    2075? (is a title damnit, I shouldn't need to add alpha)

    So they think they'll have 67 years of scamming people for "more cash" before they finally tell folks that they can't deliver because the moon isn't in the right phase? Sounds like a lot of "flying car" or "floating city" projects I know of.

  24. James

    Vertical takeoff??

    That's not efficient and would be highly uncomfortable/dangerous.

    Why not keep on flying conventionally but keep going up and out of the atmosphere? Why not use the X-15, an updated variant of it anyways (this was done in the 1960s ffs)?

  25. Ross Fleming

    Shuttle is go... no wait, stop!

    2075??? NASA are capable of doing this now - it's the Transatlantic Abort Landing for the space shuttle. Basically aborting the launch after they've commenced and landing halfway round the world. Granted they haven't tried it yet, but I'm pretty sure they'll have some spare Orbiters kicking around with not much to do in a few years. Give it a try, convert the cargo bay into a passenger bay and away you go.

    Failing that, hitch a ride on the back of an ICBM. Might be a rough landing tho... and spark all out war... but hey, these are just niggles to be ironed out.

  26. TheOtherMe

    Missing the Point!

    We antipodeans are happy here knowing you lot are a very loooong way away, well a day at least. We don't want you just ninety minutes of 'hurl-and-roll scare granny witless' flight away.

  27. Geoff Johnson


    Now you'll spend more time queueing at the airport than flying.

  28. Woenk
    Thumb Down

    Bad prank

    Not very convincing.

    Firstly we Germans can not think in such long terms, 30 years it top limit.

    Secondly, why should anyone choose Boing when we have those nice Airbus ?

    Anthirdly, the shown scetch is so ugly, only someone in Kinndergarden could have drawn it.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zero-X or UFO

    I've oftern thought that the Zero-X concept was pretty neat although I lean towards the Moon shuttles used in UFO as being more practical. Wonder how much that'd cost?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Those Germans never give up

    This is the Silverbird all over again

    Or the Sänger-Bredt Orbital bomber as it was known in it's non-PC days

  31. b166er

    2075 (is not a title apparently)

    I'll have had myself cryonically frozen by then, traveled into the future (by not aging while in stasis) and returned with a time-machine, pah!

    Mines the one with the pocket full of glycols.

  32. Adrian Esdaile


    "a daily run from Europe to Australia in ninety minutes"

    Hopefully it has a quick turnaround, so they can get home in time for 'Eastenders' once they discover there is NOTHING TO FUCKING SEE HERE.

  33. Peter Snow

    Will 747's Still be around in 2075 ?

    This kinda suggests, that while the the rest of the world is planning to move on, they suspect that Boeing will still be producing 747's!

    I think that would probably set a record for the longest running production of a single aircraft model!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not until 2075?

    Feck it. There goes next weekend in London.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Development time

    How can they mention that development time?

    Aitravel itself is slightly older then 100 years and look at the development done in that time.

    To slap a development time of that many years on an idea is unrealistic if people are serious about it.

    The time would be more realistic if it's an average of development time and the time it takes to do the politics.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    re: WHY?

    What do you mean "nothing to see," Australia has a big rock in the middle of a desert.

    Of course, if you've just seen earth from orbit, you might be slightly underwhelmed...

    That's not an alien, that's someone who went outside and forgot their sunscreen.

  37. Herby

    The amount of time

    The most likely problem with the time element (over 60 years) is most likely a budgetary one. Nobody has the dollars/euros/pounds to spend on this thing.

    I will note that the idea is not new. The Germans have been attempting to do this for about 60 years anyway. Never got far off the idea stage.

  38. Geoff Eagles

    URL for the UK effort - so much more professional!

    The Skylon A2

  39. Dale

    Virgin Galactic

    So the only difference between this and Virgin Galactic's offering is that you land in a different place from where you started, and about 60 years.

  40. Wortel

    First commenter is right

    "The bad news is, the ship isn't realistically expected in service until 2075."

    No wonder it looks sad.

  41. Chris Coles

    A Total waste of money and matches Buckminster Fullers statements

    By pure chance I came across this web page about Buckminster Fuller with this statement.

    "How can they justify large research and development budgets for next year if it were visible that the original technical gains were accruing exclusively to society from the individual preoccupations and initiatives existing entirely outside of massive government and massive corporate manufacture and distribution? The self-deceit of democracy at this moment in history by its professionally advertised aggrandisement of the "corporate image" with reputed impeccability of super-inventiveness may be the undoing of democracy's case until another century has washed away this miasmic fallacy. Not only have these professional word- and picture-factories manufactured the greatest and most persuasively erroneous myths, but they also have robbed our heritage of word- and picture-language of its incisively exquisite effectiveness."

    In 2002 I got to speak to a European Commissioner who told me that it is nowadays impossible to gain funding as an individual. The end result is that we get these sort of totally ridiculous proposals and they get funded. Dreadful waste of money.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Looks Like a Giant Suppository

    Looks like they copied the design from pharmaceutical companies...

    Cue Down Under jokes...

    Paris, because I bet she recognises the design too...

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