Revolutions in the means of transport – from pre-history to the contemporary era – and its future evolution


This article (a guest contribution from Brazil) aims to present the evolution of land, water, air and space transportation modes throughout history, and their future applications and perspectives

The evolution of the means of transport was essential for the development of humanity. Means of transport have been used throughout history, whether to purchase food, build construction, cross rivers and oceans, wage war, transport people and goods or conquer outer space. During prehistory, in primitive communities, men were nomads and their legs were their transport mechanism. People walked around in search of food and shelter, until the emergence of agriculture and the domestication of animals. With this came the need to stay longer in the same place and thus, sedentarism led to the evolution of means of transport for use in primitive communities, for exchange with other communities and even for its use in wars. It should be noted that the use of animals such as horses, camels and oxen (among many others that were, and still are, used as muscular force to move transports) is from this time. The use of oxen to transport people and goods is one of the oldest in the world [6].

As humanity evolved, the means of transportation changed. Necessity made man think of basic ways to help him build boats to cross rivers and use animals as traction force. Even in prehistory, human beings already used means of waterway transport, with long pieces of wood. Later, they managed to build small boats. Waterway transport, as well as land transport, has existed since the dawn of humanity. Initially, men used tree trunks tied with leaf fibres to cross rivers with the first rafts. Then came boats, sailing ships [12] and then steam ships [13]. The domestication of animals introduced a new way of putting the weight of transport on stronger animals, allowing heavier loads to be transported with greater speed and shorter journey times. Horses, camels, oxen or even human beings were used as means of land transport, transporting goods on dirt roads, often following hunting trails [8].

With the invention of the wheel [10 and 11], the oldest records of which were found around 6,000 years BC in Mesopotamia, the means of transport are no longer just animals but also carts, pulled by oxen or horses that intensify the development of transport. The first wheels were made of resistant wood, then came metal rims and later on, the wheel also became part of industrial machines. Today, it is still of fundamental importance. Wheels are used in cars, airplanes, motorcycles, skateboards, roller skates, carts, bicycles, etc. Inventions such as the wheel and sledge for use on ice have helped to make animal transport using vehicles more efficient. From that moment, part of humanity acquired the capacity to transport more goods and people quickly. Paved roads were built by many ancient civilisations. The Persian and Roman empires built streets and roads to allow for commercial exchange and for their armies to travel more quickly.

Waterway, fluvial, lacustrine and maritime transport, including boats powered by rowing and sailing, dates back to primitive times, being the only efficient way of transporting large quantities over long distances until the First Industrial Revolution. The first boats were canoes made from excavated tree trunks. Primitive waterway transport was carried out by vessels that used oars like the old galleys, or the wind like sailboats, or even a combination of both. Around 2,500 BC Egyptian ships established trade between the mouth of the Nile River and the Land of Canaan, while the Sumerian civilisation, sailing between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and out of the Persian Gulf, established trade with India. In 800 BC the Phoenicians established colonies in Spain and North Africa. The use of ships as a means of long-distance transport occurred 5,000 years ago with the invention of the sailing boat. The paddle-powered galleys gained a square sail on a single mast, allowing them to sail downwind. The use of wind power made it possible to move people and goods over ever-greater distances [16 and 49].

China was a maritime power long before the Portuguese and Spanish explored the oceans. The Chinese dominated the technique of navigation and shipbuilding [50]. Its greatest exponent was a Chinese Muslim eunuch named Zheng He (1371-1433). In the period 1405 to 1433, he sailed seven times to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. His fleet was the largest in the world at the time. It consisted of more than 200 ships and about 27,800 sailors and soldiers. The Chinese called them ‘treasure ships’. The ships used throughout the Indian Ocean, the reeds, retraced some of the same routes taken by Ibn Battuta (called the traveller of Islam and the greatest traveller of pre-modern times). Marco Polo also described the reeds stating that they were mostly constructed of wood that is called spruce or pine and had a floor, called a deck. On this deck there were usually 60 rooms or cabins, and in some more and in others less and four masts with sails, which often added two masts, which were raised and stored whenever they wished, with two sails, according to the weather. The Sagres School in Portugal also developed, in the 15th century, the technology for building the caravels, as well as the seamanship and navigation techniques, necessary for the great journeys of the discoveries [49].

The crossing of the Atlantic by the Spanish and Portuguese was only possible with the discovery of marine currents in the North Atlantic and the South Atlantic. This type of navigation was used primarily by humanity, until the emergence of steam navigation [13], originally used as supporting the first, until it became the exclusive and majority means of propulsion from 1845 onwards. The evolution of waterway transport accompanied human progress, its scientific and technological evolution, as well as social and economic changes in society. The only cargo transport module in foreign trade in the 15th and 16th century was the waterway. It was from the 19th century onwards that steam vessels and later engines powered by petroleum derivatives appeared [13]. More and more specialised ships are being produced for the transportation of cargo in large volumes and specific for each type of cargo, in addition to using them as weapons of war. From wooden canoes to large vessels such as modern ocean liners, there has been much progress.

The diffusion of the invention of the steam engine by James Watt gave rise to the dream of moving large vessels without depending on the winds, which is usually associated with Robert Fulton, and his voyage on the Hudson River in 1807. More recently, Diesel powered engines have been used on ships. The development of steam propulsion, cannons capable of firing explosive grenades, and the construction of armour in iron and steel revolutionised naval warfare. This change took place gradually. The first “armoured” ships with iron armour were used to attack enemies. In the 15th century, the Italian genius Leonardo da Vinci, responsible for creating countless inventions, developed the idea of an underwater ship, in addition to a series of other projects for aquatic exploration. However, it was the English mathematician William Bourne who was responsible for analysing all the practical aspects of using ballast for submersion, paving the way for the creation of the first prototypes of a vessel capable of operating in a submerged manner.

The first model in the history of the submarine was created in 1620, by the Dutchman Cornelis Drebbel. Between the years 1578 and 1801, several improvement projects were carried out, such as the USS Turtle and the Nautilus. Around 1890, with the creation of the internal combustion engine and the improvement of electric motors, the submarine had an exponential advance. The invention of the submarine, a specialised vessel to operate underwater, gave a new dimension to naval warfare. The submarine was first widely used in World War I and is used by all major navies today. German submarines were used during both world wars. From 1955 onwards, the first nuclear submarines appeared, a reality that significantly changed their way of functioning. If they had previously needed to return to the surface frequently, they would now be able to remain underwater for several years at a time. In World War II, aircraft carriers were invented.

It was only after the First Industrial Revolution (18th century) that the quantity and efficiency of means of transport expanded, with the advancement of science and technology. From the invention of the steam engine, the locomotive was developed, enabling the advancement of the railroad [3], which quickly spread to industrialised nations and the rest of the world. The railways were created by the English engineer Richard Trevithick in the 19th century. However, the wagons were powered by horses. The first section of railway was created on September 27, 1825, in England. Since then, this means of transport has spread all over the world. The railways were only made possible with the steam engine, which is the device that uses water vapor to give movement to other machines. Later, with the development of steamships [13], of the subway that began to circulate in London in 1863 [17] and the invention of the electric tram in 1881 [25 and 50], of the automobile in 1885 [52] and trucks in 1895 [4], of the bicycle between 1817 and 1880 [18], of the motorcycle in 1885 [52], of the airship in 1852 [22 and 23], of the plane in 1905 [54], of the helicopter in 1907 [15], of the elevator in 1853 [24], of pipelines in 1885 [55], of the drone in 1977 [19] and the space rocket in 1925 [21], among others, there was a veritable explosion of possibilities in the field of transport. All these means of transport bring together the means intended for transporting people or cargo. The means of transport can be classified into land, pipelines, waterways, air and space.

Among the means of transport mentioned above, it is worth highlighting the invention of the airplane, which was one of the greatest inventions of humanity in its history, as it defied the force of gravity while remaining in the air. In 400 BC, Archytas de Tareto tried to build a machine that could fly, and between 1480 and 1505, Leonardo da Vinci elaborated upon his projects when he carried out considerable studies on flight, including studies on kites, which are gliders based on the skeletal structure of birds. Modern versions of these designs prove that most of them could actually fly. The invention of the plane is attributed to Santos Dumont and the Wright brothers who, at the same time, in 1905 and 1906, developed their aircraft. The brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright and Santos Dumont played a very important role in the development of aviation. From this time onwards, aircraft engines were greatly improved, with a notable increase in power. This great series of technological advances, as well as the growing social and economic impact that airplanes started to produce worldwide, makes aviation one of the greatest inventions of humanity.

Land transport enables movement on city streets, dirt roads, paved highways and are classified into rail, road and subway with the use of train[3], tram [25 and 51], urban elevators [56], inclined planes [26 and 56], cable cars [27], bus [57], subway [17], automobile [53], truck [4], bicycle [18] and motorcycle [52]. The pipeline or tubular means of transport are those made by means of tubes (gas pipelines, oil pipelines, alcohol pipelines, ore pipelines), to transport gases and fluids that are the safest and most economical that exist for large quantities. The means of waterway transport are those that move on water, by means of canoes, ferries, boats, ships, submarines (submerged in water) and aircraft carriers. They are classified as maritime (sea), fluvial (river) and lacustrine (lake). The means of air transport are those that move in the air (planes, helicopters, balloons, airships and drones). Space transport means are those that move through outer space using rockets and/or spacecraft to move astronauts, artificial satellites, space probes, robots, rovers or any other type of equipment for space exploration. Means of transport require appropriate infrastructure and vehicles. By infrastructure, we mean the road, pipeline, railway, waterway, air, space, etc. transport network that is used, as well as terminals such as bus stations, railways stations, subways stations, ports, airports, rocket launching centres and all kinds of similar equipment. Vehicles, such as cars, bicycles, trains and planes, or people or animals themselves when travelling on foot, generally travel through any network. It can be said that the means of transport made it possible for human beings to occupy all spaces on planet Earth and contributed decisively to promoting its economic and social development.

What will the waterway, land, air and space transport of the future look like? The answers to this question are presented in the paragraphs described below:

Waterway transport of the future

What will the waterway transport of the future look like [31, 32, 33 and 34]? Ships of the future will benefit from increasingly sophisticated technologies. Smart ships will become an integral part of the reality around us. Ships already have sonar to prevent collisions with icebergs or means that provide better use of energy. Experts say that the great revolution of the future in the shipbuilding industry will be the propulsion of ships using LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). Vessels that use this fossil fuel, one of the cleanest in existence, are already a reality and its applicability is increasing year after year. These advances may allow the goal of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by 2050 to be achieved. It is also important to highlight the great advances in the near future in the application of solar and wind energy as an auxiliary source of propulsion, with the installation of rotor sails to generate clean and renewable energy, bringing more sustainability to the sector. There is an expectation that solar powered vessels will have to be designed, as we see a great advance in the studies of this technology and its applicability on a large scale or even the civil use of nuclear energy as a source of propulsion. New technologies may be added to port infrastructure, observing the concept of industry 4.0 in the automation and digitisation of ports through robotics, big data, internet of things (IoT), blockchain and artificial intelligence. The cargo ships will be powered by batteries that use solar and wind energy.

More than 200 years after the first steamship began crossing the ocean, wind energy finds its way back to sea-lanes. Installing “rotor sails” for one of your tankers is one way to reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions. The company behind the technology, Norsepower, Finland, says this is the first wind power retrofit system on a tanker. Some ideal applications for the use of wind and solar energy include cruise ships, tourist catamarans, fishing vessels, offshore supply vessels, research vessels, oil tankers, cargo, patrol and passenger ships. A new container ship is being built in Norway by two companies. The electric cargo ship for short sea shipping will initially have a crew still present, but in 2022, the vessel will switch to autonomous operation. The so-called “Tesla of the seas” is expected to be manned from an onboard control centre during the first voyages and then autonomously controlled via GPS [34].

Land transport of the future

What will the land transport of the future be like [35, 36, 37, 38]? As the concentration of most people will be in urban centres, local governments will encourage the use of means of transport that follow the trend of smart and sustainable cities, interconnected by access routes controlled by various devices that use artificial intelligence and the internet of things for the maintenance of a nimble and safe transit. Priority means of transport will be subways, trains, bicycles, scooters, on foot and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT’s). Transport systems will feature technologies such as robotics, internet of things (IOT), more modern applications and collection systems. ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) solutions will monitor in real time everything that happens in the bus system and will interface with other modes of urban mobility. Conventional bus lines will have as main function to connect the most distant neighbourhoods articulated with subway lines.

Drones and flying vehicles will fly over the city’s streets, ensuring more safety, mobility and speed in the delivery of products and people, respectively [38]. The streets will have extensive cycle paths and cycle paths, in addition to numerous exclusive lanes for BRTs powered by hydrogen, which is considered by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as the fuel of the future whose greatest challenge is the production of clean hydrogen on a large scale. Widely used, subways and trains will be fundamental in metropolises. Cities in metropolitan regions will no longer be isolated from capitals, given that high-speed railways will pass through several municipalities [38]. Real-time monitoring will allow the control of traffic light intervals, according to the traffic flow, to avoid congestion. The information will be displayed at train and bus stops, public parking lots, displays scattered in various locations. People will be able to schedule, even at home, the use of different means of transport, thanks to the evolution of applications, including the famous Global Positioning System (GPS) [38].

The subway will be the main means of public transport that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One of the technologies used by this means of transport will be Hyperloop, which will allow the movement of many people, over long distances, in a short period of time. The trains will magnetically levitate in airless reaching speeds of 240 mph to 720 mph, and will interconnect various metropolis neighbourhoods, often supplying cities in metropolitan regions. Comfortable high-speed trains will be common and will avoid congestion on the highways. Most of the railways in the main world capitals will be powered by renewable energies, such as solar photovoltaics and hydrogen [38].

The driverless system that is truly driverless will be fully operational [38]. Subways and trains (and, who knows, buses) will be conducted remotely through software, providing more safety, speed and comfort to passengers. As it will be possible to control the speed, the interval between them and even the time for opening the doors. Using the driverless system, the subway will be able to reduce the intervals between one train and another and obtain an increase in passenger capacity. Furthermore, the perfect synchronisation of trains will avoid sudden stops and will contribute to the reduction of energy consumption. The trains will be powered by solar energy and hydrogen with the abandonment of diesel from the rail network [58]. Operators and suppliers will use resources such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, network speed and big data to enable more efficient payment systems and the integration of modalities, so that subways and buses can be used more widely by the population [38] .

Trains operating at more than 200 kilometres per hour can be considered high speed [47 and 48]. The first high-speed rail system began operating in Japan in 1964 and was known as the bullet train. Twenty-seven countries in the world currently have high-speed trains, with train sets that can reach over 400 km/h. The continents of Asia and Europe concentrate the largest fast rail networks that transport passengers and cargo. In South Korea, there is a total of 1,104.5 km of railway for fast trains, with another 425 km to be expected soon. The maximum speed for trains on regular service is currently 305 km/h. Turkey is 621 km long, the expansion of which will take the country beyond 2,000 km of railways for rapid services, with the train operating at speeds of up to 250 km/h or 300 km/h. Italy is 1,467 km long and trains operate at a maximum speed of 300 km/h. In the UK, the high-speed railway has 1,527 km of track with four railway lines operating at maximum speeds of 200 km/h. In Sweden, many trains operate at 200 km/h. There are 1,706 km of lanes for fast services. Japan has 2,764 km of fast trains that reach a maximum speed of 320 km/h. France has 2,647 km of roads, in addition to 670 km under construction. Germany has 3500 km of lines, between operational and under construction, with trains reaching speeds of up to 300 km/h. Spain has 3,240 km of tracks and trains that reach speeds of up to 310 km/h. China has 35,000 km of high-speed railways.

On railway lines, preventive maintenance will be carried out by autonomous drones, there will be driverless trains travelling safely at high speeds, loads will automatically be sent to their destination and intelligent technology will be designed to improve the passenger experience and allow for ticketless travel. There will be an improvement and diffusion of automatic steering systems on trains, which will further optimise travel times and may end delays. Smart robots will build new railway infrastructure and modernise old ones. Technological advances will also be vital to improving the user experience, providing accurate commute information in real time, and allowing uninterrupted access to work and entertainment while traveling via wireless internet networks (Wireless and/or 5G). The exceptionally silent and efficient magnetic levitation technology employed in the fully automated Transport System will also allow the system to serve as a space-saving, low-greenhouse gas emission alternative. The system will operate at speeds of up to 150 km per hour, being able to move up to 180 containers/hour individually and fully electric [39]. One of the problems with urban transport systems is the lack of coordination between different modes of transport. We want to know how to get from A to B as easily as possible, whether on foot, by bike, motorcycle, subway, bus, train, Uber or taxi – or a mixture of some or all of them. In the past, we didn’t have enough data. Now we have. And we’ll be able to count on our smartphones connected at all times to help us visualise it all. An app will tell you the fastest way to get to your destination by mixing all the integrated means of transport, whether electric car, subway, bus or taxi.

There will be a proliferation of electric vehicles. Shared flying vehicles, fully electric and progressively autonomous, capable of taking off and landing vertically, will cut through the skies of cities. For this, the tops of the buildings of partner companies of air transport services will function as take-off, landing and supply points [38]. People will increasingly use fully sustainable shared and/or private electric scooters as an alternative to the subway or the bus [38]. The automobile of the future will be increasingly autonomous, electric, connected and shared. Electric and autonomous vehicles seem to be the main drivers of the crucial transformation that will take place in the transport of cities [37]. Autonomous vehicles, therefore, already exist and this is not a futuristic project [35]. The idea is to strengthen public transport. So, in a smart city, people can get rid of their car that poses a threat to the health of the population by congesting our cities and compromising air quality with the use of fossil fuels. In many countries, buses and other driverless transport systems are being tested as autonomous vehicles. Public or private autonomous vehicles will connect us from our house to a transport hub. There are already driverless buses in the canton of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, which circulate through the city of Neuhausen am Rheinfall, picking up and dropping off passengers while navigating the traffic [35]. There’s not even a steering wheel in it. An employee inside the bus can take control of the vehicle from a remote control, should there be any unforeseen circumstances.

In the future, highways will not be as unsafe as they are today. Vehicles will not have drivers and will not emit polluting waste into the air. Highways will be controlled by sophisticated technologies that communicate with cars, extract energy from the sun, integrate road infrastructure and GPS systems [40]. The highways of the future are already starting to be designed. They will feature advanced solar panels that will generate clean, renewable energy and wirelessly charge electric cars on the move or when parked. The panels will also have LED lighting and heating elements to melt snow. Electric cars are likely to become commonplace on the roads of the future as scientific development will considerably improve battery performance and the potential for increased electricity storage. Fully automated navigation systems will also allow roads to become populated with driverless cars that could change the design and operation of the highways and provide safety and environmental benefits. Vehicles will become increasingly “smart”, which, with a combination of the connected vehicle and the Internet of Things, will enable cars to transmit and receive information about traffic, speed, weather and potential safety risks.

Air transport of the future

What will the air transport of the future look like? The aeronautical industry is working on the development of several aircraft projects that promise to revolutionise air transport in the coming years and decades [41, 42, 43 and 44]. They are supersonic, electric, autonomous and even aircraft that look like a giant drone for transporting passengers in urban centres. The search for more efficient ways to fly and transport passengers through the skies whilst zeroing or emitting less polluting gases is the greatest challenge for the aeronautical industry in the coming years. This change will require a technological overhaul of the planes. There are studies on electric planes, flying cars, supersonic planes, among other innovations. The electric plane solution does not work for large aircraft yet. What can be built, now, are electric planes with a capacity a little over 10 passengers and a flight range of around 300 km. Another option evaluated in this area is hybrid propulsion, combining conventional and electric motors. Electric planes are not expected to evolve so quickly that they debunk jets in the short to medium term. There are already, for example, electric planes used in pilot schools and sub-regional category airlines that are considering adopting electric aircraft in this decade. Electric planes use electric batteries, the “fuel” of this new type of plane, which are quite heavy and inefficient, compared to the high power of jet engines and turboprops. Another electrical source being studied for the planes is the generators powered by hydrogen, a technology that still needs to mature until it becomes really viable. There will be the invasion of eVTOLs (Electric Landing and Vertical Take-off Aircraft) called “flying cars” as an alternative to urban transport.

There will be a return to the manufacture of supersonic passenger planes. Boom Technologies and Aerion Corporation are working on designs for new supersonic passenger aircraft [41]. Boom has the closest proposal to Concorde. It is a supersonic jet capable of reaching Mach 2.2 (2,355 km/h) and transporting 55 passengers on flights up to 8,000 km. A prototype of the scaled-down aircraft will be tested. The manufacturers guarantee that they will solve the problems that accompanied the Concorde’s career, such as the extremely high fuel consumption and the effect of the “sonic boom”, the uncomfortable sonic boom generated by the passage of a plane at supersonic speed. There will be the end of four-engine planes, which, in the not-too-distant past, were synonymous with safety and great capacity. Nowadays, these machines, immortalised in the form of the giants Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, are falling into disuse in passenger transport. They are too expensive to operate, require more maintenance, and consume huge amounts of fuel. The alternative to these four-engine behemoths are new, state-of-the-art twin-engine wide bodies (wide-body planes) such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787. Boeing is working on the new 777X, the largest twin-engine plane of all time. Smaller jets, previously restricted to domestic flights, will be able to travel internationally between continents.

Researchers at the Technical University of Delft, in the Netherlands, managed for the first time to fly a prototype of the new Flying-V commercial aircraft, which is touted as a new aircraft that could change aviation in the future [42]. With a V-shape quite different from traditional commercial aircraft, the Flying-V has a design thought to have a more efficient fuel consumption. The main difference is that the passenger cabin, cargo compartment and fuel tanks are located in the plane’s own wings. The engines, in turn, are above the wings, located in a more central part of the aircraft than usual and close to the centre of gravity. Computational models have estimated that the shape changes allow 20% less fuel consumption than the most advanced planes on the market. It may still take years or decades for a full-size aircraft to be complete, but testing the first prototype was an important step in the development of the new aircraft. The project foresees an airplane with a capacity for 314 passengers. Airbus features designs for hydrogen powered aircraft to avoid greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. It is a ‘V’ shaped model with wings integrated into the body of the plane. According to the company, the wide fuselage opens up several options for hydrogen storage and distribution, as well as for the cabin layout [43].

Space transport of the future

What will the space transport of the future look like? To reach Earth’s orbit at a distance of 100 km above sea level, rockets need tons of fuel and oxidants to ensure adequate propulsion to reach about 28,440 km/h and escape Earth’s gravity. This large volume of fuel also takes up a lot of space on the spacecraft [59]. A new engine under development by two North American engineers, however, proposes an alternative to optimise the amount of oxidants carried by rockets and reduce the cost of launches. It is the Fernis air-aspirated propulsion system, a technology that combines characteristics of a conventional rocket engine and a jet engine [45]. Fernis passively aspirates air through one end and then compresses it and combines it with kerosene and some oxygen gas in a combustion chamber. When complete, the system could reduce the amount of oxidants carried by a rocket by as much as 20%. In theory, this means that rockets equipped with this technology could be more compact or allocate more compartment spaces for payloads.

Another alternative is to use jet planes to transport conventional rockets several kilometres into the atmosphere and then release the vehicles, which complete the final stage of the space journey on their own [45]. Designed by NASA, the X-43 aircraft features a rocket engine to give the vehicle an initial boost. Next, a hypersonic air breathing jet system, known as a scramjet, takes control of the vehicle. There is, however, a fundamental challenge applied to this system that, in order to reach the speed necessary to reach Earth’s orbit, a large number of thrusters is needed. By adding fuel and other materials, the rocket gets heavier making it difficult for the vehicle to reach the necessary speeds. This alternative differs from Fernis, which corresponds to a single-stage system for orbit, so it drives vehicles that reach Earth’s orbit without the help of external devices and does not need to detach any of their machinery parts during the journey. This category also includes SABER technology, a hypersonic jet and rocket engine hybrid engine concept developed by the British company Reaction Engine. The Saber is an unprecedented hybrid engine capable of “breathing” air while in the atmosphere, like a jet engine, turning into a rocket when it hits space.

The European Space Agency (ESA) decided to bet on a technology that has been dreamt of since the beginning of space exploration: a spacecraft capable of taking off from an airport, like an ordinary plane, becoming a traditional rocket which exceeds the limits of the denser atmosphere, enters orbit and returns to the ground on the same runway from which it took off [46]. The company Reaction Engines, contracted to develop the first parts of the revolutionary engine that will equip this spacecraft of the future, claims that it is a reusable spacecraft, capable of taking off from a conventional airport, placing a 20-ton payload in orbit and returning to the ground in the same runway from where it took off. This technology could become a reality in less than a decade.

For these reasons, the extraordinary advances in transport technologies from prehistory to the contemporary era have contributed to the economic and social development of humanity and their advances in the future will promote even greater advances for the benefit of humanity.

Fernando Alcoforado is an Engineer and University Professor at CXA Arquitetura e Engenharia

Feature Image Source:


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