Venus Aerospace, a US-based company, has been pursuing a groundbreaking concept: the development of an aircraft capable of reaching nine times the speed of sound. This impressive feat would allow passengers to travel anywhere in the world within just 60 minutes.
Although news about the company’s progress has been relatively scarce since the summer of 2022, recent reports indicate that important strides have been made towards turning this ambitious idea into a reality. With a target launch date of 2030, Venus Aerospace is hard at work refining their technology.
The Powerhouse: Rotary Detonation Engine
A significant milestone was achieved at the end of March, as reported by ArsTechnica. Venus Aerospace successfully tested a prototype of their rotary detonation engine, a unique propulsion system that sets it apart from conventional engines. The engine operates using a supersonic combustion process called detonation, where the fuel explodes in a circular chamber, creating shockwaves that trigger subsequent explosions in a rapid sequence.
NASA has also recently developed and tested a similar rocket engine, further validating the potential of this technology.
Fueling the Future
In the recent test, Venus Aerospace utilized a fuel mixture composed of room-temperature liquid hydrogen peroxide and Jet-A, a common fuel for jet aircraft. The choice of fuel is crucial, as it accounts for approximately 80% of a hypersonic aircraft’s mass. By improving fuel consumption by 10%, the company aims to allocate additional mass to reinforce critical components such as landing gear and wings.
Comparing the Competition
To put Venus Aerospace’s ambitious goal into perspective, the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird”, the world’s fastest aircraft, could reach speeds of 3.2 times the speed of sound. The renowned Concorde, a supersonic passenger jet, was able to achieve Mach 2 or approximately 2,100 km/h. The company’s aim of reaching nine times the speed of sound would be a monumental leap forward in the world of aviation.
What’s Next ?
Venus Aerospace’s ambitious timeline targets the launch of their first aircraft by 2030. However, it is not uncommon for ambitious projects to experience delays, and it would not be surprising if the actual launch is pushed back by a few years. Regardless, the progress made thus far signifies an exciting development in the realm of aviation, promising a future of faster, more efficient air travel.