Virgin Galactic unveils Mach 3 aircraft design for high-speed travel

©Virgin Galactic unveils Mach 3 aircraft design for high speed travel

Virgin Galactic has unveiled the first-stage design scope for the build of its high-speed aircraft design, and the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rolls-Royce to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high-speed commercial aircraft. This follows the successful completion of its Mission Concept Review (MCR) program milestone and authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation to work with Virgin Galactic to outline a certification framework.  This marks an exciting step forward in Virgin Galactic’s development of a new generation of high-speed aircraft, in partnership with industry and government leaders, with a focus on customer experience and environmental sustainability.

Rolls-Royce is a leader in the cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to the planet’s vital power needs. Rolls-Royce has a proven record of delivering high Mach propulsion, powering the only civil-certified commercial aircraft (Concorde) capable of supersonic flight.

The Mission Concept Review, which included representatives from NASA, is an important program milestone at which the Virgin Galactic high-speed team confirmed that, based on the research and analysis work completed, its design concept can meet the high-level requirements and objectives of the mission. Previously, NASA signed a Space Act Agreement with Virgin Galactic to collaborate on high-speed technologies.  

The basic parameters of the initial high-speed aircraft design include a targeted Mach 3 certified delta-wing aircraft that would have capacity for 9 to 19 people at an altitude above 60,000 feet and would also be able to incorporate custom cabin layouts to address customer needs, including Business or First Class seating arrangements. The aircraft design also aims to help lead the way toward use of state-of-the-art sustainable aviation fuel. Baselining sustainable technologies and techniques into the aircraft design early on is expected to also act as a catalyst to adoption in the rest of the aviation community.

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