Virgin Galactic has teamed up with luxury motor company Rolls-Royce for the latest in high-speed travel technology.
Though a concept currently, the aeronautical and engineering giants have big plans for a modern commercial aircraft that will reportedly be able to take passengers from London to New York City in 90 minutes.
Named the Mach 3, the aircraft will have the capacity for between nine and 19 passengers and will cruise at 60,000 feet (18,300m). It’s the same maximum cruise altitude of the Concorde, though this aircraft is expected to go much faster.
The Mach 3 is reported to travel at three times the speed of sound. With a speed of 3,704.4 km/h, it’s well and truly set to overtake the Concorde, which travelled at a top speed of 2,179 km/h.
Rolls-Royce is specifically working on the engine propulsion technology while Virgin Galactic manages the aircraft’s design. The wings will be triangular in shape, the same Delta wings as seen on the Concord and other supersonic planes.
But the aircraft is designed for form as well as function. Plans for cabin interiors include custom layouts to address customer needs, including business or first-class seating arrangements, and all the usual amenities that make flying more comfortable.
Virgin Galactic has allegedly submitted its plans for the aircraft to Space agency NASA for a Mission Concept Review.
“We are excited to complete the Mission Concept Review and unveil this initial design concept of a high speed aircraft, which we envision as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivalled customer experience,” says George Whitesides, chief space officer at Virgin Galactic.
“We are pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce as we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for the aircraft, and we are pleased to be working with the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) to ensure our designs can make a practical impact from the start.
“We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high speed travel.”
While there’s no word yet on when this passenger aircraft could hit the skies, it may be sooner that people are able to go to space. Last week, Virgin Galactic revealed designs for the cabin interiors of the SpaceShip Two, and as one may expect, they are out-of-this-world.