Virgin Galactic has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rolls-Royce to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high speed commercial aircraft. Think of a new Concorde… but faster.
The concept is a delta-wing aircraft capable of carrying up to 19 people at speeds of Mach 3, three times the speed of sound (2,300mph) at over 60,000ft. That will allow passengers to travel from London to New York in one and half hours or London to Sydney in just over four and a half hours.
The concept powered by Rolls-Royce engines will help lead the way towards the use of state-of-the-art sustainable aviation fuel. In the next phases of design, the companies will determine the ideal materials for supersonic long haul flights as well as address key challenges in thermal management, maintenance, noise, emissions, and economics that routine high speed commercial flights would entail. We might not be travelling in Mach 3 by next year, but it is on the horizon and the aircraft will operate as any other passenger aircraft slotting into the existing airport infrastructure. Those who weren’t lucky to see a Concorde in flight, this may be your chance to experience supersonic flight.