Venus Aerospace Corp has touted that its hypersonic spaceplane would be capable of carrying passengers from Los Angeles to Tokyo in about an hour — a flight that otherwise takes 11 to 13 hours.
The company is the brainchild of former Virgin Orbit LLC employees Sarah Duggleby (code-writing launch engineer) and her husband Andrew Duggleby (launch, payload and propulsion operations). The idea emerged after the couple missed Sarah’s grandmother’s 95th birthday due to the long duration.
We’ve heard of supersonic jets — jets that travel faster than the speed of sound. However, what Venus Aerospace is aiming to develop are hypersonic jets, which are way faster than supersonic. Venus has planned its space lane to be as fast as 9,000 miles per hour or around 14,484 kilometres per hour. This is almost 12 times faster than the speed of sound (which maxes out at 1234kmph).
Venus as of now has 15 employees and most of them are veterans from the space industry. They’ve received investment from venture capital firms like Prime Movers and Draper Associates.
Dugglebys state that their tech would be drastically different from the attempts made by companies in the past, claiming they’d be more efficient and would allow it to better handle the extra weight that comes from wings, landing gear and get engines that are seen in a commercial aircraft. Andrew says, “Every few decades humans attempt this. This time it will work.”
However, there is still time for the fruition of this project. The shape of the aircraft isn’t complete yet and they plan on testing three scale models this summer. They have also received a small research grant from the US Air Force and are also pursuing additional funding from the Department of Defense. The project is expected to take a decade or more.