Companies large and small are working on cleaning up the skies with electric airplanes, bringing back supersonic travel, and even flirting with the edge of space to transport passengers across the world.
UK startup Orbex has showed off its Prime Rocket's second stage. Inside the engineering prototype's shell is the "world's largest" 3D printed rocket engine, which is also designed to run on bio-propane, a renewable fuel source.
Instead of propellers or turbines, the light aircraft is powered by an 'ionic wind' - a silent but mighty flow of ions that is produced aboard the plane, and that generates enough thrust to propel the plane.
In 2011, Stratolaunch Systems was founded with a simple goal: to reduce the costs of rocket launches by creating the world’s largest air-launch-to-orbit system. Recently, their aircraft reached a major milestone.
The research team developed a new design for high-speed aircraft, which may, according to the Creator, to fly from Beijing to new York in 2 hours.
The E-Fan X will offer partially electric powered flights that are cheaper, quieter, and more sustainable.
Inspired by evolution in nature, Danish engineers used supercomputing to design a wing structure that resembles the interior of a bird’s wing or beak.
Using powdered metal and high-powered lasers, this additive manufacturing machine can produce virtually any metal part within a one-meter cube area.
The Microsoft founder's Stratolaunch company has built the world's largest airplane, which is designed to launch rockets into orbit from the sky.
Sir Richard Branson has raised the prospect of planes being made entirely from the so-called wonder material graphene within 10 years, as the airline industry battles a 50pc increase in fuel in the last 12 months, sparking a desperate need for ever lighter fleets.
3D-printed plastics are expected to perform well under stress and in extreme temperatures.
In the future, aircraft will consume half as much fuel compared to today, generate one-fourth the emissions they do now, fly so quietly that airport neighbors won't hear annoying noise and fly passengers at supersonic speeds while burning biofuels.
Airbus Group says it is developing the CityAirbus, an autonomous air taxi for individual passenger and cargo transport, scheduled to fly late next year.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has an alternative idea about how to pave a commercial highway to space.