By: April Carson
Supersonic flight is the future of aviation, and it's quickly arriving. In just 18 months ago up until now there have been many developments that show how much this trend will grow even more in years to come!
A few companies already offer supersonic flights for those who can afford them like Boom which successfully tested its XB-1 demonstrator aircraft last year as well as United Airlines having presold 15 out their still developing 30 seat models called “Overture".
Another company partnering together was Virgin Galactic where they announced plans at an engineering conference about working on 19 seats with Rolls Royce while Russia revealed some new updates regarding building a commercial grade Speedyjet by 2020.
The Hermeus Quarterhorse is another. It's like supersonic or Mach 1—the speed of sound—multiplied by five, and you've got the hypersonic Quarterhorse.
Last week, Atlanta-based company announced that they have been awarded $60 million by the US Air Force to finance testing of their innovative aircraft. Unlike other airplanes which are limited in speed due to how much fuel they carry or require landing gear for landings, this Hermeus is designed with Mach 5 wheels so it can travel seamlessly between worlds at speeds approaching 4219 mph!
That makes them not only one of fastest planes on Earth but also capable enough take passengers across oceans without breaking a sweat--a New York City - London flight would only take about 1 hour.
The boat's propulsion system will be a turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine. Such systems employ a conventional jet engine for launch and landing, as well as to build enough speed in flight to feed air into a second turbine—known as a ramjet or scramjet—which generates more power but only works when fast airflow is available.
The hypersonic aircraft will be propelled by a TBCC engine, which would use both turbine and scramjet technologies. The ship will take off under the power of two conventional jet engines, but as it accelerates through Mach 1.5 they will shut down and retract into the tail. At this point, the ramjets attached to the outside of the engine's nozzle will engage, blasting air to produce a combined thrust of 120 tons.
In nine months, Hermeus designed and built an engine based on GE J85 turbo jet. In doing so they have two advantages: firstly it can fly autonomously which allows them to get prototypes in the air without risking pilots' lives; secondly because this type of aircraft doesn't require a human operator at all times during flight testing or training sessions for new operators who will be using them as their main mode transport around Future Base 3-d map in the asteroid belt.
It has already begun developing a large-scale commercial passenger aircraft, which it intends to test in 2023, 2025, and 2029, respectively.
Another benefit is, of course, the government money. “While this collaboration with the US Air Force demonstrates the US Department of Defense's interest in hypersonic aircraft, when paired with Hermeus' partnership with NASA announced in February 2021, it is clear that what we're creating has both commercial and military potential," said AJ Piplica, chief executive officer of Hermeus.
Yes, defense is essential, but please let us know when we can get up in the morning and play a late-afternoon round at St. Andrews.
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