Hypersonic air travel is all the rage these days with many established aerospace companies and small startups racing against each other to build the first operational hypersonic aircraft. One of them is a Texas-based deep tech startup called Venus Aerospace which has ambitious plans that can revolutionize passenger air travel. The company is currently developing a hypersonic aircraft named Stargazer that promises to cut down the travel time from New York to Tokyo to just an hour by flying 6,905 mph at an altitude of 170,000 feet. While Venus Aerospace announced the conceptual aircraft a while back, it has now released some more information about Stargazer, including details on the hypersonic technology that’ll power the jet.
According to Venus Aerospace, the hypersonic aircraft will measure 150 feet long by 100 feet wide and will be able to accommodate up to 12 passengers. According to the American startup, the aircraft will take off with the help of conventional jet engines and transition to rockets once it reaches altitude. Venus co-founder and CTO Andrew Duggleby noted that it will be powered by a rotating detonation engine that spins at 20,000 rotations per second. “Rotating detonation means the supersonic combustion happens continuously inside the engine and our video shows the detonation wave moving around the engine at supersonic speeds,” the company said in a statement after a successful test of a prototype at its Spaceport Houston headquarters.
Rotating detonation engines burn 20 percent less fuel than conventional engines and are being promoted by the US Navy. Venus is confident that the revolutionary propulsion technology will help its futuristic aircraft reach speeds up to Mach 9. By comparison, the Concorde traveled at Mach 2, while the iconic SR-71 Blackbird traveled at Mach 3.2.
The company is currently working on a 20-foot prototype and will soon begin hypersonic flight testing with an aim to reach Mach 5. Recently, a Swiss company named Destinus showcased its own hydrogen-powered hypersonic aircraft that is claimed to be capable of traveling from New York to London in 90 minutes.