Virgin Galactic and Rolls Royce are planning to work together in developing engine propulsion technology which would allow a commercial jet to travel at Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound. To put this into context the Concorde had a top speed of Mach 2 which is 1500 km/h less. The new jet would have the capacity for up to 19 passengers and a cruising altitude of 60,000 feet. Virgin plan to incorporate custom cabin layouts for a ‘bespoke customer experience’. The Concorde was the plane of the elite and it seems that this experience will the same. The entire plane will be in a Business/First Class seat configuration with all the amenities that come with high-end air travel. There will be a greater effort to produce a sustainable plane – the lack of which ultimately grounded the Concorde. Specifically, they’ll look to implement baseline sustainable technologies and techniques within the aircraft’s design to “catalyse” its eventual adoption by the wider aviation community. Hopefully, this means that the project will be more economically viable for both the airlines as well as the customers. “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,” says George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic Chief Space Officer. “We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high-speed travel.” “Rolls-Royce brings a unique history in high-speed propulsion going back to the Concorde, and offers world-class technical capabilities to develop and field the advanced propulsion systems needed to power commercially available high-Mach travel,” says Tom Bell, Rolls-Royce North America Chairman & CFO.
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