Aerospace company Hermeus unveiled plans to develop an aircraft that could travel at speeds of up to Mach 5 — cutting travel time from New York to London from seven hours to 90 minutes.
The U.S.-based firm is working on propulsion technology that would allow the jet to fly at speeds of up to 3,800 miles per hour or about three times faster than the now-retired Concorde.
Hermeus announced new funding led by Khosla Ventures that will allow the company to develop a range of technologies to make its futuristic jet a reality.
“We’ve set out on a journey to revolutionize the global transportation infrastructure, bringing it from the equivalent of dialup into the broadband era, by radically increasing the speed of travel over long distances,” co-founder and CEO AJ Piplica said in a news release earlier this week announcing the company's advisers, which include two men who worked with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture.
The primary materials set to be used by Hermeus include titanium, and the propulsion system will be powered by a turbine-based, combined cycle engine, according to ArsTechnica.
"We aren't getting into anything too miraculous," Skyler Shuford, the company's chief operating officer, told Ars. "We want to do engineering, not science."
The Concorde, which entered service in 1976 and flew for the next 27 years, is one of only two supersonic jets known to have been operated commercially. The second is the Soviet-built Tupolev Tu-144, which was in service for nine years starting in 1968.
Hypersonic flight is defined as travel at greater than five times the speed of sound and is one of the aerospace industry's most promising areas of development, in part because of competition with Russia and China for military applications.
“Hermeus is developing an aircraft that not only improves the aviation experience with very reduced flight times, but also has the potential to have great societal and economic impact,” Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, said in a statement.