Hermeus, an American aerospace organisation has introduced the idea of a supersonic plane that would be capable of breezing over the Atlantic at a speed of 4,000 mph in only 90 minutes. What is a supersonic aircraft? A supersonic aircraft is a plane that can travel quicker than the speed of sound.
This speed is greater (almost twice) than that of the iconic Concorde. As per Ars Technica, seeing a working prototype any time soon is unlikely, but, the initial round of funding has been completed. This would make it possible for the organisation to bring in a propulsion demonstrator. Interestingly, Hermeus is not the only organisation working on this, a competitor ‘Boom Supersonic’ is also working on something similar. Boom Supersonic is another start-up just like Hermeus.
Boom Supersonic is working on a Mach 2.2 supersonic jet that will have space for around 55 passengers and will be a little faster than Concorde. As per the announcement of 2017, Boom Supersonic is planning on bringing in this innovation by the mid-2020s. They are being successfully backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and have already received orders for around 76 planes. This is huge. However, it is important to note that going up from Mach 2 to Mach 5 can be a daunting task. It is not simple. In order to make this extremely fast plane a success, Hermeus is looking to utilise whatever technology they can to make this happen. This includes looking for cutting edge rocketry and titanium materials.
Supersonic aircrafts were previously used in the twentieth century for the purpose of research and military. Boom Supersonic is trying to work on creating a faster future. Supersonic planes are an amazing discovery that could change the future of air travel. Today, a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo takes around 11 hours. Boom Supersonic and Hermeus aim to considerably reduce this time.
The American Bell X-1 was the very first plane to fly supersonically. It was an experimental aircraft that used 6000-lb thrust rocket powered by ethyl alcohol and liquid oxygen. The majority of such aircrafts have been either for military use or as an experiment. There is no example of a supersonic plane that has been used for regular passenger flights. In the 1960s and 70s, there were many designs initiated for supersonic planes. Two of the well-known names that entered service include the Russian Tupolev Tu-144 and the Anglo-French Concorde. However, there were many restrictions that prevented them being used at their full capacity.