XCOR Aerospace wants to change that. Out of a group of outfits looking to bring back travel faster than the speed of sound, it has an especially intriguing idea: flying from one airport to another, via outer space.
It's no pipe dream: XCOR is busy building the Lynx, its suborbital commercial spacecraft, which will take off and land like a conventional plane, but offer a cruising speed of Mach 3.5, 62 miles above the ground.
As it moves toward its first test flights in early 2013, XCOR has built a full-scale mockup of the Lynx, which it brought to last week's International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, in New Mexico.
The Lynx seats only two, and is a stepping stone to a future vehicle that will make point to point space travel a reality.
The design is not final yet, COO Andrew Nelson says. But it's the best look yet at the craft that could make point to point travel in space a reality, and send passengers from New York to Tokyo in an hour and a half.