London, Nov 8 : Scientists have envisioned passenger space travel becoming a reality by the middle of next decade, which would enable people to go from one side of the globe to the other in a couple of hours.
According to a report in the Telegraph, A number of scientists are convinced that "space tourism" and "sub-orbital point to point travel" (SPTP) are on the point of becoming flourishing industries.
Space tourism, which is already a reality, can only be afforded by the affluent, as companies like Virgin Atlantic can charge exorbitant prices like 200,000 (US) dollars or 125,000 pounds for a space flight.
But, this is just a staging post for the ultimate goal, which is traveling through space to get from one side of the globe to the other in a couple of hours.
The advocates of SPTP see it as the 21st century equivalent of taking a trip on Concorde - and appealing to the same sort of clientele.
But, such travel will not come cheap, as one estimate suggests a ticket for a round trip taking in London, Tokyo and New York would cost more than 43,000 pounds.
According to Walter Peeters, dean of the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, the fares in the middle of the next decade will be the equivalent of what passengers were paying to fly on Concorde during its heyday.
Peeters has suggested that flying through space to a distant destination is only a few years away.
"You would lift off from a normal airport and try to get above the friction zone reaching an altitude of 80 kilometers," he said.
At this point, the aircraft, possibly holding around seven passengers, would be flying at just over 260,000 feet, or around eight times the altitude of a normal aircraft.
It would also reach speeds of more than 4,600 miles an hour - more than three times the speed of Concorde.
"The higher you go, the thinner the atmosphere there will be and there will be less friction. It would feel like floating. But, at that altitude, there will be less of a need for thermal protection than at over 100 kilometers," said Peeters.
"Give industry the money and this is going to happen. But it will need 1 billion dollars," he added.