This concept design comes alongside a new partnership for Virgin Galactic, by way of a memorandum of understanding that the company signed with Rolls-Royce, one of the world’s leading aircraft engine makers.
The company revealed the initial design of the commercial passenger airplane it’s creating that’s designed to fly at speeds in excess of Mach 3 – faster than the average cruising speed of around Mach 2 that the original Concorde achieved.
Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing subsidiary, The Spaceship Company, also has a partnership in place with startup Boom Supersonic to help develop their supersonic civil passenger aircraft.
Virgin Galactic is making strides towards its goal of creating high-speed commercial aircraft that operates a little closer to Earth than its existing passenger spacecraft.
Virgin Galactic announced in May that it would be partnering with NASA to work towards high-speed, high altitude point-to-point travel for commercial airline passengers.
Both aim to inspire the industry at large to do more to pursue the development of high-Mach point-to-point travel, and Virgin says that one of its aims is to “act as a catalyst to adoption in the rest of the aviation community” by coming up with baseline “sustainable technologies and techniques.
Rolls-Royce is also responsible for the engine of the Concorde, the only supersonic commercial aircraft ever used for passenger travel.
The plan is to eventually create an aircraft that can fly above 60,000 feet (the cruising altitude of the Concorde) and carry between 9 and 19 people per fly, with a cabin essentially set up to provide each of those passengers with either Business or First Class-style seating and service.