At 12 times faster than sound, the world’s fastest passenger plane begins model testing

A US-based startup is designing a hypersonic space plane that could allow people to travel anywhere in the world in just an hour.

Venus Aerospace, a hypersonic space plane start-up, will begin testing three scale models this summer, Bloomberg reported.

Traveling in a space plane may seem like regular airplane travel until the plane reaches cruising altitude. Once at this altitude, the pilot then activates the rocket thrusters and the aircraft zooms to the edge of space at a blazing speed of over 9,000 mph or about 12 times the speed of sound.

This is the speed that the plane maintains for the next 15 minutes. As it hovers again in the atmosphere, the aircraft slows down, returns to earth, and lands at its destination airport.

In all likelihood, the hypersonic space plane to be developed by Venus Aerospace will perform these functions within an hour.

Based in the United States, Venus Aerospace was founded by couple Duggleby, Sarah and Andrew Duggleby in 2020. Sarah worked as a code writing launch engineer at Virgin Orbit, while Andrew managed launch operations. , payload and propulsion in the same organization. .

In June 2020, the couple then living in Japan were forced to miss Sarah’s grandmother’s 95th birthday party. Flights from Japan to Los Angeles take an average of 11 to 13 hours. Leaving their jobs at Virgin Orbit, they decided to work on the hypersonic plane, hoping to cut the travel time from Tokyo to Los Angeles or anywhere in the world to an hour.

The company has a small team of 15 members, most of whom have worked in leading space organizations around the world. In a short time, Venus Aerospace secured investments from some large venture capital firms like the Prime Mover and Drapers Association. They also received a research grant from the US Airforce and are seeking additional funding from the US Department of Defense.

Hypersonic technology

The aerospace company assures that the plane will use very advanced technology. As an improvement over previous supersonic planes, their new version will use a more efficient engine.

This should handle the extra weight of the wings, landing gear, and jet engines much more efficiently.

Speaking of the aircraft and its designs currently being worked on, former NASA astronaut Jack ‘2Fish’ Fischer said the initial acceleration blast “sends you back to your seat” but soon goes away because “You’re going so fast you can’t even feel it anymore. Fischer revised the plans for Venus Aerospace’s supersonic plane.

Yet there is still a long way to go for the airplane to become a reality. The shape of the aircraft is still under development. The company plans to start testing all three scale models in the summer of 2021.

Have supersonic planes passed?

Supersonic Aerion was working on business jets, capable of flying twice as fast as commercial jets until the Nevada-based company closed operations in May 2021 due to financial difficulties.

The Aerion Supersonic intended to take off its AS2 aircraft in 2024 and wanted to launch into commercial services by 2026.

He had entered into partnerships with large companies such as Boeing, General Electric and NetJets owned by Berkshire Hathaway. A $ 375 million manufacturing plant located at Orlando Melbourne International Airport was also in the works.

Giving its supersonic planes an advantage over previous Concorde supersonic jets, the patented Aerion Supersonic “boom-free cruise” technology, which was to allow the AS2 to fly without creating a sonic boom, as was the case with the Concorde jets .

The turbojet Concorde began its commercial journey in 1976, after its first flight in 1969. With a capacity of 92 to 128 passengers, the Concorde supersonic airliners were used by Air France and British Airways. Along with the Russian-built Tupolev TU-144, the Concorde was the only supersonic transporter used for commercial purposes.

In July 2000, an Air France Concorde plane crashed in Paris, a few minutes after takeoff. This ultimately led to a decrease in Concorde flight attendance, leading both Air France and British Airways to discontinue flights.

In 2016, the idea for a new Concorde II supersonic jet was pioneered by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson. When complete, the jet is expected to cut the travel time from London to New York to three and a half hours.

Regardless of the failed Aerion and Concorde ventures, experts in the field believe people won’t hesitate to pay more to travel at the speed of sound.

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Travis Durham

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