Going anywhere on the globe in half an hour, instead of up to 29 hours, is of course very appealing. How can ballistic technology be used for the purpose?

The acceleration is supposed to not exceed that which is acceptable for humans.

The problem of radiation in space is assumed to be solved elsewhere.

If you need an image of what this is like imagine a space rocket with astronauts that instead of reaching an orbit is falling down at a desired destination.

The Stratolaunch is an example of such a system where an aeroplane is used in the atmosphere and rockets beyond that into space.

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    $\begingroup$ I would miss the journey, the experience and the story to tell. In thirty minutes across the globe is like instant beaming. If we get ships with overlight speed as replacement, okay ;) $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ Across the globe in 30 minutes means you'll arrive at your destination dead. Or you'll have to do some major fighter-pilot training and be in peak physical condition. The kinds of G-forces involved would kill most of the traveling population. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 22:10
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    $\begingroup$ There are companies studying hypersonic travel but are probably going to be less like ballistic missiles. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 23:03
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    $\begingroup$ Commercial suborbital flight is dawning on the horizon, however, the G forces are much less than ballistic missiles or giant cannon shells for that matter (we did not go to the moon that way). However 0 drag space flight would be an interesting study for fuel efficiency. For example, 12,500 miles suborbital vs Concorde. Bottom line, longer, slower burn on rocket to keep Gs survivable for humans. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ @RobertDiGiovanni Where is any such study of fuel efficiency? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 23:57

1 Answer 1


Welcome to Aviation Stack Exchange, and interesting question. I assume you know something about the ballistic process for vehicles such as ICBM's and so I'll start my explanation from there.

Firstly, ballistic anythings don't account for the acceleration's effect on humans. Only machinery and weaponry has been transported in this manner, and I don't see ballistic missile technology becoming well adapted for this purpose anytime soon. Just look up the acceleration values for a Trident III for example, and you'll quickly see that you and I would definitely not want to get on one of those.

Secondly, ballistic technology is single-use. Missiles obviously have a terminal point, where it blow up as it were, but an alternative like rockets and space shuttles present a more suitable option for us humans. At a much shallower trajectory than ballistic missiles pose, space shuttles provide a fast, but highly inefficient method of travel that we rarely use anymore, and most definitely not for mass commercial purposes.

Long story short, ballistic missiles specifically would not be suitable at all for humans, if we want to board and disembark alive. Some new options, such as the Sabre rocket/aircraft are promising new technologies, but for our safety and efficiency, traditional aircraft are still the prime choice.

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    $\begingroup$ The word missile is no longer mentioned in the question due to downvotes and closing. Slower acceleration would be needed for human transport and this is not impossible. Please show how pushing something through air can have higher "efficiency" than transport through vacuum. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 0:00
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidJonsson, well, before you can push it through a vacuum you have to first push it through air, right? Getting to that vacuum at the comfort level of a paying passenger is no small feat… $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 17:30

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