Virgin Galactic Presented The Project Of A Supersonic Passenger Plane
Virgin Galactic has unveiled a project for a passenger supersonic aircraft that can reach speeds of up to Mach three. It is designed to carry from 9 to 19 people. The company also announced the signing of a Memorandum of intent with Rolls-Royce, which will help in the development and production of engines for the aircraft.
Virgin Galactic is primarily known for its high-altitude space flight project for tourists. It developed for this purpose a bundle of the VSS Unity spaceplane (SpaceShipTwo class) and the White Knight Two carrier aircraft. The plane lifts the Shuttle with passengers to an altitude of 15 kilometers and drops, after which it accelerates with its rocket engine and rises close to the border of space. The device has already made several supersonic flights (in one of them it accelerated to three Mach numbers) and is preparing to receive an FAA license.
The company also has plans to develop passenger supersonic transportation. A few years ago, it entered into a partnership with the American company Boom Supersonic, which creates a supersonic Overture aircraft for several dozen passengers with a cruising speed of Mach 2.2. And in may, Virgin Galactic said It would create its own supersonic plane with NASA. Now she has submitted his project, which has passed the initial review of the Agency's engineers.
The aircraft has a Delta wing design without endings, as well as a large vertical tail stabilizer. Under the wing, there are two air intakes for engines. The company announced that it has entered into an agreement of intent to develop and manufacture engines with Rolls-Royce. A few days earlier, Boom Supersonic announced a similar partnership with Rolls-Royce.
The main differences from the Boom Supersonic project are a smaller number of passengers (from 9 to 19) and a higher speed — up to three Mach numbers. Flights will take place at an altitude of more than 18 kilometers. The company noted that the aircraft would be delivered with a cabin adapted to the needs of customers, including first-class seats.
At the current stage, the project has passed only an initial assessment by specialists. In the future, engineers will study the design in detail and select materials for the airframe.
Supersonic passenger aircraft projects have an unusual alternative: Intercontinental passenger flights on missiles. SpaceX plans to use the second stage of the promising superheavy starship rocket for this purpose, as well as landing pads in the sea and underwater tunnels leading to them for hyperloop vacuum trains.