SpaceShip Three could be a point-to-point transportation method between two locations on Earth. The types of routes being seriously considered include:
As of 2008, the SpaceShipThree concept spacecraft will be used for transportation through point-to-point suborbital spaceflight. This service could provide, for example, a two-hour trip from London to Sydney or Melbourne. (Kangaroo Route)
This simple example indicates that the furthest separated locations on Earth are possibilities for such a suborbital flight. I'm wondering about the parameters of such a suborbital flight...
How elliptic would these jumps be? Would they be elliptic at all? It could just be a LEO which will decay in half a turn, but is this the most energy-efficient? Could you save on your delta v budget by making the arc higher?
I believe apogee and perigee are often given in terms of altitude above sea level, so if you almost circularized the orbit (but not entirely) for a flight from London to Sydney, the perigee might still be above sea level (since the orbit decays when it gets into heavy atmosphere.
If such a flight would be almost circularized to LEO, then the claims of Scaled Composites seem to not make any sense. Suborbital flights are a scaled down version of their plans, where they were previously considering orbital flights. How can a suborbital flight to the other side of the planet have a significant energy advantage over reaching orbit? I'm wondering if maybe this is possible by using a more highly elliptical orbit, where the perigee would remain below sea-level.