New plans could see flights from London to Sydney in 90 minutes

Passengers could one day blast off from London and land in Sydney in just 90 minutes, with the UK Space Agency drawing up plans for launches from British spaceports.

The agency has confirmed it is instigating plans for human spaceflight, with two spaceports earmarked for the UK.

Virgin Galactic is the most likely candidate, at least in the short term, to take paying passengers outside Earth’s atmosphere.

Suborbital flights may not be too far off in the future, with Britain announcing plans for two spaceports. Source: Getty Images

Astronaut Tim Peake said that it is a very exciting time for space travel right now.

“Space tourism can come under some criticism as a sport for the rich, but that’s how a lot of things in life start, that’s how aviation started,” Mr Peake said.

“What might be perceived as an expensive folly today actually can in future become a very efficient means of transportation.

“If you extend Virgin Galactic’s principle of sub-orbital flight and improve the vehicles and make them with increasing endurance, you could do London-to-Sydney in an hour-and-a-half on a sub-orbital trajectory.”

In the not-too-distant future, rocket flights which blast passengers briefly through space will start to replace long-haul flights, analysts have predicted.

Astronaut Tim Peake believes suborbital flights have the potential to be "very efficient means of transportation". Source: Getty Images

UBS predicts that by 2030, the market for high speed travel via space will be worth at least $20 billion - and will seriously compete with long haul flights.

The analysts pointed to plans from Elon Musk’s Space X to use the Starship rocket to fly up to 100 people from New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes - or London to New York in 29.

The analyst firm predicts that long-haul flights over 10 hours will be “cannibalised” by point-to-point rocket travel.

UBS analysts Jarrod Castle and Myles Walton have written: “While space tourism is still at a nascent phase, we think that as technology becomes proven, and the cost falls due to technology and competition, space tourism will become more mainstream”.

“Space tourism could be the stepping stone for the development of long-haul travel on earth serviced by space.”

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