How realistic is a two hour flight to Sydney via space?

ITV News' Ian Woods explains the details on a plan to get people from London to Sydney in just two hours - via space

Space flight as a form of travel has been accessible for the ultra-wealthy in the past, but a new plan could see holidaymakers briefly leaving the Earth in order to travel from London to Syndey in just two hours - but it might not be very comfy.

Research by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) suggests people will be able to make the 10,500-mile journey from London to Sydney in two hours within the next ten years.

But making it commercially viable still faces significant hurdles, especially around ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers who will be exposed to 6G during their flight.

How realistic is the plan?

The CAA is exploring making sub-orbital flights commercially viable, but they have been technologically viable for some time.

Sub-orbital is the term given to a spacecraft that leaves outer space but still remains close to Earth's gravitational pull and is directed back down to the surface rather than completing a full orbit like a satellite.

Jet pilots are regularly exposed to G-forces. Credit: PA

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin have offered these flights to customers in the past, but with a price tag of £350,000 per seat, it is not feasible for most.

Their flights are also more about the experience rather than the destination as opposed to the CAA's idea.

The CAA believes technological innovation will make sub-orbital aircraft significantly cheaper in the coming years and is preparing to regulate them.

If it becomes a reality it is likely to be eagerly embraced by countries who want to boost their tourism industries.

The current flight time between London and Sydney is 22 hours direct, but as few flights are direct the real time is much longer.

What are the risks?

The CAA funded a study examining the impact of G-forces on passengers.

In order to carry out the flight passengers will be exposed to G-forces of up to 4G while ascending to space and 6G on the way down.

G-force is a measurement of force applied to something during acceleration or a rapid gange in direction.

1G is equal to the normal force of gravity we feel on Earth, which keeps us firmly on the ground, 2G would be twice that and so on.Fighter pilots and Formula 1 drivers are regularly exposed to G-force due to the extremely high speeds they operate at.

Qantas is one of the few companies that offer direct flight to Sydney from the UK. Credit: PA

Published in the journal Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance, it said: "Commercial suborbital space flights are now available for tourism and scientific research, and are ultimately anticipated to mature into extremely fast point-to-point travel, eg London to Sydney in less than two hours."The study, which involved the RAF and was carried out by King's College London found most people could endure the high levels of G-force without any issues.

24 people aged between 32-80 took part in the trial which exposed them to high G-forces to 10-30 seconds.

The force creates a heavy sensation on the chest, making it more difficult to breathe.

It can also impact the rhythm of the heart and the flow of blood to the brain.

But the study noted all bodily functions returned to normal quickly once things returned to normal.

One participant lost consciousness for a few seconds but recovered quickly.

Some reported 'greying out' in their peripheral vision while exposed to high G.

No-one recorded any lasting health impacts.

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The study also noted that even though the older participants suffered worse during the flight, everyone recovered at a similar pace.

They concluded most people would be able to make the flight without issue but extra care would need to be taken for people with medical conditions.

While the study was positive on the safety of the flight, it did not comment on whether customers would be willing to put themselves through such an experience in order to cut flight times, or if the discomfort would be too off-putting.