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Future High-Altitude High-Speed Transport 20XX (FAST20XX)
Start date: Dec 1, 2009, End date: Nov 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The current project aims at the investigation and development of technologies and steps necessary for approaches to conquer the grey zone between aeronautics and space in Europe, and thus to set the foundation of a new paradigm for transportation in the long term. The underlying concepts considered are a) a European space plane based on an airplane launch approach to advance European know how in this area, based essentially on a ballistic flight experience using hybrid propulsion, and b) the same space plane envisioned to evolve into suborbital point-to-point long-distance transport in very short times by using high-energy propulsion. An alternative, vertically starting two-stage rocket space vehicle system concept is used to identify technologies required for suborbital ultra-fast transportation. The concepts will be addressed separately and in relation to each other as well as with those considered in other EC projects, exploiting similarities and synergies wherever possible. The concepts can be classified with near term and very long term realisation capabilities, and will be evaluated according to the maturity of underlying technology, inherent risk, sustained operations, and cost. All concepts and technologies will be considered with respect to environmental issues. Some activities concern the leagal issues and those of suitable space ports. Due to the recent agreement with Virgin Galactic, it is quite natural to consider the ESRANGE facility in Sweden an excellent candidate for a starting place of experimental high-altitude high-speed flights."

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