If you thought Virgin Galactic was only working on a swanky new spaceship, think again. The carrier is also working on a new supersonic jet that promises a cruising speed 50% faster than Concorde.
Virgin Galactic Unveils New Supersonic Jet
Virgin announced plans to work with Rolls-Royce to develop an aircraft that will travel at Mach 3 at a flight level of 60,000 fleet, 50% faster than the cruising speed of Concorde. Such an aircraft will theoretically travel between New York and London in 90 minutes or Sydney and London in five hours. Unlike Concorde, which held up to 128 passengers, this aircraft would only hold 9-19 people. Virgin mentions the aircraft “would also be able to incorporate custom cabin layouts to address customer needs, including Business or First Class seating arrangements.”
Virgin recently completed a “Mission Concept Review” with National Aeronatuics and Space Administration (NASA) on the aircraft and design. Now, Virgin will work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on how it will certify the aircraft for flight.
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 an unrivalled 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.”
My heart races at the thought of flying SpaceShipTwo and it does for flying supersonic as well. The new aircraft design is beautiful, the technology is exciting, and I am so excited that innovation is alive and well. It has been 17 years since the last Concorde flight, far too long a gap in the supersonic history of aviation travel. Hopefully Virgin Galatic’s new design will take flight.