Although it has been nearly two decades since Concorde stopped flying, there are several U.S. companies looking to bring supersonic flights back to the skies in 2023, including Boom Supersonic, which is developing a 55-seater Overture aircraft; Aerion Supersonic, which is also working on a 12-seater with Lockheed Martin; and Spike Aerospace's plans to fly 12-18 passengers non-stop from Dubai to NY in around half the time it now takes modern planes. The aircraft would also be able to incorporate custom cabin layouts to address customer needs, including business or first-class seating arrangements. Virgin Galactic will now move to the next phase of design, focusing on specific system architectures and determining which materials will be used in the design of the aircraft.
The project would be distinct from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo suborbital space plane program, which is closing in on the start of commercial operations at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
"We are pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce as we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for the aircraft", says George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic Chief Space Officer.
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Virgin Galactic will collaborate with Rolls-Royce to develop engine propulsion technology for a new supersonic jet; which many are already hailing as the next Concorde.
Well aware of what hindered the original Concorde from truly taking off - pun very much intended - the Virgin Galactic and Rolls-Royce engineering efforts will also take sustainability into consideration. Nevertheless, the stock market's initial reaction to the news was positive - boosting Virgin Galactic's share price in early trading today.
Since the Anglo-French Concorde was retired in 2003, supersonic commercial flight went into a hiatus that has lasted 17 years and counting.
The company competes with billionaire-backed ventures such as Blue Origin to usher in a new era of space tourism, racing to be the first to offer sub-orbital flights to civilian space travellers.
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The island, which sits about 78 miles from Camp Pendleton, is managed by the Navy and houses a number of training facilities. The vehicles, he continued, have three water hatches for the crew and two very large troop hatches in the back.
'Assuming both flights demonstrate the expected results, Virgin Galactic anticipates Sir Richard Branson's flight to occur in the first quarter of 2021, ' the company said in a statement. Today's announcement suggests that Virgin Galactic is now moving in a different direction.
This isn't the only supersonic jet in creation. "Nope, not April 1", Aviation Week's Steve Trimble tweeted. "The competition will be doing Mach 25".
This report was first published on Cosmic Log.
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