Virgin Galactic reveals designs for new Mach 3 supersonic aircraft

Virgin Galactic, part of the business empire of British billionaire Richard Branson, presented on Monday designs for what could be the first commercial supersonic passenger jet in nearly 20 years.

The company made public the first-stage design images of the jet, which would fly at an altitude of more than 18.000 meters (at the edge of space) while accommodating 19 passengers.

Virgin announced also that the supersonic jet will use an engine provided by Rolls-Royce, allowing the aircraft to reach a top speed of Mach 3, around 30 percent more than Concorde. Speaking of Concorde – the supersonic jet plane was retired in 2003 after a tragic accident.

“We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high speed travel. We envision [it] as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivaled customer experience,” said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic Chief Space Officer.

Photo: Virgin Galactic