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“Stargazer” - Hypersonic Jet Travel

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Venus Aerospace is building a passenger aircraft that can fly from New York to Tokyo in just one hour! It can travel at Mach 9 (nine times the speed of sound), which is about 11,000 km/h. To put that into perspective, the fastest commercial jet in history, the Concorde, could reach Mach 2 (about 2,400 km/h). The fastest aircraft ever built, Lockheed’s SR-71 military spy plane “Blackbird,” had a maximum speed of Mach 3.2 (3,900 km/h). They call this new plane “Stargazer” because it will be able to fly at an altitude of 56 kilometres - high enough to see the earth’s curve and the blackness of space. The plane is 50 metres long by 30 metres wide, and is intended to carry up to 12 people. The company plans to move Stargazer from science fiction to reality with a new type of propulsion called the rotating-detonation engine. 

The Stargazer will take off with conventional jet engines, but then transition to the new engines once it reaches altitude. Venus co-founder Andrew Duggleby says, “The rotating detonation engine has been successfully tested, so we have both the technical knowledge and the engineering to fully advance to the next steps of development and flight testing.” The firm will soon begin “hypersonic” (greater than Mach 5) testing with a small unmanned version of the stargazer that is six metres long. When that is successful they will move on to building the first full-sized Stargazer prototype, though no date has been set. The hypersonic business jet concept is also being pursued by other US companies. Sierra Space is building the “Dream Chaser,” and Hermeus, is working on a Mach 5 aircraft that they call the “Quarterhorse”. China’s Space Transportation is developing a 12 passenger jet that can fly at Mach 6. 

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