Virgin Galactic has not set a date for when it expects to build a fully functioning version of the aircraft.
Virgin Galactic has not set a date for when it expects to build a fully functioning version of the aircraft.

Five-hour flight from London to Sydney

Virgin Galactic has unveiled plans for a new super-jet that could whisk passengers from London to New York in just 90 minutes and from London to Sydney in less than five hours.

According to The Sun,the unnamed aircraft, to be developed in collaboration with Rolls Royce, will fly at 60,000ft (18,000m) and hit a top speed of 3700km/h.

That's fast enough to cross the Atlantic in a third of the time it takes a commercial airliner.

Up to 19 passengers will fit on one of the hi-tech planes, though no date has been set for a maiden voyage - or even a test flight.

The Virgin Galactic Space Plane will zip around the world at 3700km/h.
The Virgin Galactic Space Plane will zip around the world at 3700km/h.

Virgin Galactic had previously announced it was working with NASA on a supersonic vehicle. The designs were finally revealed on Monday.

"We are excited to … unveil this initial design concept of a high-speed aircraft," Virgin Galactic chief space officer George Whitesides said.

"We envision (the vehicle) blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivalled customer experience."

Virgin Galactic said its designs were released following the completion of a concept review with help from NASA.

The vehicle will be developed by Virgin Galactic and Rolls Royce.
The vehicle will be developed by Virgin Galactic and Rolls Royce.

The firm announced a partnership with Rolls Royce to design and develop the craft's engines. Rolls Royce previously developed the Concorde's engine.

Once completed, the vehicle will travel at speeds of Mach 3 - three times the speed of sound or roughly 3700km/h.

That's faster than the average cruising speed of Mach 2 achieved by the original Concorde, the first supersonic passenger-carrying aircraft.

A cabin large enough for between nine and 19 people would offer Business or First Class seating arrangements.

Virgin Galactic said it will now work with the Federal Aviation Administration to create a framework for certifying the aircraft for flight.

Once completed, the vehicle will travel at speeds of Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound.
Once completed, the vehicle will travel at speeds of Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound.

"We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high-speed travel," Mr Whitesides said.

Founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic is best-known for its efforts to get paying passengers to space.

The company has been hit by multiple delays down the years, but in 2018 managed its first flight to the edge of space - though no tourists were on board.

Virgin Galactic is charging customers a rumoured $250,000 (£175,000) a ticket for a few minutes of weightlessness on one of its early flights.

Its SpaceShipTwo space plane will soar 97km above the Earth's surface before landing at a spaceport in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission

Originally published as Five-hour flight from London to Sydney


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