Virgin Galactic uses space tech to create new supersonic jet

The space tourism company Virgin Galactic teams up with Rolls Royce to create a new Mach 3 supersonic aircraft.

concept plane flying above clouds

New supersonic aircraft from Virgin Galactic.

Credit: Virgin Galactic
  • Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has announced a partnership with Rolls Royce.
  • The space tourism company will create a new supersonic jet for super-fast travel on Earth.
  • The aircraft will travel at Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound.

Virgin Galactic made the hearts of all speed enthusiasts beat faster by announcing a new agreement with Rolls-Royce to create a supersonic passenger jet.

The space tourism company founded by billionaire Richard Branson revealed an enticing look at the aircraft's design, which would not be taking people to the edge of space but between points on Earth. The move allows the company to leverage its space technology for super-fast travel across the planet. Crucially, the craft would utilize sustainable, next-generation fuel.

The concept for the supersonic jet, which can potentially disrupt commercial airline travel, has undergone a NASA review. Next, the company is planning to work with the FAA to create a framework for certifying the new aircraft for flight.

Virgin's Galactic's partner in this venture, the British company Rolls-Royce, is, of course, no stranger to supersonic aircraft-making, having built engines for the famous Concordes.

The first aircraft built will be targeted the speed of Mach 3, which is three times the speed of sound. In other words – a blazing 2300 mph. The plane will be able to carry from 9 to 19 people, cruising at an altitude of over 60,000 feet.

Virgin Galactic's chief space officer George Whitesides was bullish on the company's achievement:

"We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high speed travel," he said in a statement.

jet rendering

Credit: Virgin Galactic

The company has also made great strides in the development of its spacecraft. Check out the recently-released interior of its SpaceShipTwo Unity cabin:

Virgin Galactic Spaceship Cabin Design Reveal

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