Virgin Galactic has revealed initial designs for its high-speed aircraft which would travel at three times the speed of sound (Mach 3), enabling it to shatter Concorde’s record by flying from New York to London in just two hours.
The unveiled designs show the aircraft of the very near future could carry from nine to 19 people at an altitude above 60,000 feet, three times the speed of sound at an incredible 3,700 kilometres per hour at Mach 3.
New York to London in just two hours? That would shatter the current transatlantic commercial flight record of just under 3 hours, which was set by a British Airways supersonic Concorde jet in February 1996.
By comparison, the British Airways supersonic Concorde averaged 2,011 kilometres per hour, or about Mach 2.
London to Sydney in 4 hours? London to Beijing in 2.2 hours? It’ll all be possible according to Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic is designing the aircraft for a range of operational scenarios, including service for passengers on long-distance commercial aviation routes.
The design philosophy is geared around making high speed travel practical, sustainable, safe, and reliable while making the customer experience a top priority.
The aircraft would take off and land like any other passenger aircraft and be expected to integrate into existing airport infrastructure and international airspace around the world.
Virgin Galactic says the innovative aircraft design also aims to help lead the way toward the use of sustainable aviation fuel.
George Whitesides, Chief Space Officer at Virgin Galactic, said: “We are excited to complete the Mission Concept Review and unveil this initial design concept of a high-speed aircraft, which we envision as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with unrivalled customer experience.
Virgin Galactic says that they believe working together with regulators and industry leaders such as Rolls Royce and Boeing will support the mission to broaden and transform global travel technologies, with a focus on customer experience.
“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, and we are pleased to be working with the FAA to ensure our designs can make a practical impact from the start. We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high-speed travel.” He said.
Rolls-Royce is a leader in the cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to the planet’s vital power needs. The company has a proven record of delivering high Mach propulsion, powering the only civil-certified commercial aircraft (Concorde) capable of supersonic flight.
Virgin Galactic also recently revealed the cabin interior of its first SpaceShipTwo vehicle, VSS Unity, and launched an augmented reality enabled mobile app, which is available to download for free at both the App Store and Play Store.
When will it be ready? Hopefully. not in the too distant future.
Find out more: www.virgingalactic.com
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