Virgin Galactic—the space arm of the Virgin Group (which also owns the Virgin Atlantic airlines)—just released designs for a brand new supersonic jet that will travel three times faster than the speed of sound!
And the company will be joining up with British aerospace company Rolls-Royce to design the new high-speed aircraft over the following years. The jet will be Mach 3 certified (the speed of sound travels at Mach 1), have the capacity for 9-19 people, and would travel at an altitude above 60,000 feet.
Oh, and of course customer service would be top priority. Unlike other high speeds planes from the past (like the famous Concorde that flew passengers from London to NYC from 1997-2003), this plane would include Business and First Class seating, with “custom cabin layouts.”
They also want their use of sustainable aviation fuel, which is part of the aircraft’s early development, to influence the “rest of the aviation community.”
The initial design concept has been deemed successful, so now they’ll start nailing down the details. This focuses on “defining specific system architectures and configurations, and determining which materials to use in the design and manufacturing of the aircraft,” the press release states.
“The team will also work to address key challenges in thermal management, maintenance, noise, emissions, and economics that routine high speed commercial flights would entail.”
Of course, if this all sounds a bit familiar, you aren’t going crazy. Over the past few years there have been a few different companies working to make supersonic air travel a reality. There’s the Boom Supersonic “Overture”, the X-59 QueSST by NASA, the Boeing, and one by Hermeus Corporation in Atlanta (this promises the fastest trip from NYC to London in 90 minutes).
Looks like it’s a race to see who can get there the fastest! Only time will tell…