Virgin Galactic and its subsidiary, The Spaceship Company, introduced a new supersonic jet design concept on Monday aimed at the long-distance commercial aviation segment. In addition, the companies announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Rolls-Royce to develop and design “engine propulsion technology for high speed commercial aircraft.” According to Virgin Galactic, the FAA’s Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation reviewed the project direction last week and authorized FAA resources to work with the company on outlining a certification framework for the design.
“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 to ensure our designs can make a practical impact from the start,” said Virgin Galactic Chief Space Officer George Whitesides. “We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high speed travel.”
Virgin Galactic is targeting a speed of Mach 3 at an altitude above 60,000 feet for the delta-wing design. The jet will have a customizable cabin layout capable of seating between nine and 19 people. The company says the concept will include the use of “sustainable technologies and techniques.”