Vir­gin un­veils Mach 3 de­sign for su­per­sonic pas­sen­ger flights

The Korea Times - - WORLD BUSINESS -

WASH­ING­TON (AFP) — Space tourism com­pany Vir­gin Galactic on Mon­day an­nounced a part­ner­ship with en­gine-maker Rolls-Royce to build a su­per­sonic com­mer­cial air­plane that flies at three times the speed of sound.

The air­craft would travel at Mach 3 — rather than the Mach 2 speed of Con­corde, the pi­o­neer­ing jet that op­er­ated from 1976 to 2003.

Any new su­per­sonic plane would have to solve the prob­lems that doomed Con­corde, in par­tic­u­lar noise and fuel con­sump­tion.

“We are ex­cited to… un­veil this ini­tial de­sign con­cept of a high speed air­craft, which we en­vi­sion as blend­ing safe and re­li­able com­mer­cial travel with an un­ri­valed cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Ge­orge White­sides, chief space of­fi­cer at Vir­gin Galactic.

The air­craft’s draft de­sign showed a plane with a tri­an­gu­lar “delta wing” car­ry­ing be­tween nine and 19 pas­sen­gers at an al­ti­tude of more than 60,000 feet, or 18,000 me­ters — about twice as high as nor­mal com­mer­cial flight.

The plane would take off and land at ex­ist­ing air­port run­ways.

Vir­gin Galactic said its team would “work to ad­dress key chal­lenges in ther­mal man­age­ment, main­te­nance, noise, emis­sions, and eco­nom­ics that rou­tine high speed com­mer­cial flights would en­tail.”

The com­pany signed a non-bind­ing mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Rolls-Royce to de­velop an en­gine for the air­craft.


Vir­gin Galactic’s Mach 3 Air­craft de­sign for high speed travel is un­veiled, Mon­day.

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