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Flying in space could mean Sydney to London journey time of two hours



Flights from Sydney to London in two hours will be possible during the next decade by travelling through space, a new study said.

Suborbital space flights, where passengers would be briefly launched into space before descending to their final destination, would slash the current 22 hours flying time from Sydney to the British capital.

While suborbital fights are currently marketed to wealthy space tourists and scientists, research by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, suggests they could become commercial within 10 years.

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But in addition to their hefty price tag – one ticket aboard Virgin Galactic's space tours costs more than $650,000 – suborbital flying also impacts the human body.

When a person is launched up to 100kms into space at G-force speed, gravitational forces are placed on the body when they leave and return to Earth's lower atmosphere.

These forces, the study said, create a heavy sensation on the chest, making it more difficult to breathe, and can reduce the intake of oxygen, affect the rhythm of the heart and lead blood to pool away from the brain.

The research was conducted by King's College London and used technology provided by the UK's Royal Air Force to recreate the G-forces on 24 space travel participants.

It found most people can handle space travel without major health impacts.

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Older people could potentially withstand the strains of suborbital flights better than younger, fitter travellers, because they generally have slightly "stiffer arteries" which could reduce the pooling of blood away from the brain.

The space flights experiments also caused a temporary loss of vision in 88 per cent of participants.

People with heart or lung conditions, or obesity, could be at greater risk from suborbital flying, the researchers said.

But pre-flight safety checks may need to be tweaked to take account of the potential health impacts.

The study suggested space travel hopefuls should undergo centrifuge testing before they board their flights.

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