While the failure of Concorde slowed investment in the dream of supersonic commercial flights, the last couple of years has seen more and more aerospace companies making strides with names like Boom Supersonic already securing billions of dollars of orders from United Airlines and American Airlines. Another leading player is Venus Aerospace, whose Stargazer jet promises hypersonic flights – for reference, that’s at least five times faster than supersonic – that’ll take you around the world in an hour or two.
Based in Houston, Texas, Venus Aerospace has been working on building the Stargazer since 2020 and has raised nearly $50 million in pursuit of speeds never reached before. The key new technology that Venus Aerospace hopes to use in its jet is a rotating-detonation engine that spins at a mind-melting 20,000 times per second, causing combustion happens continuously within the engine and using a reported 20% less fuel than conventional engines.
If everything goes according to plan, the 12-seat Stargazer will be able to travel at Mach 9 – nine times the speed of sound at 11,100 km/h – and make the journey between Tokyo and New York in a single hour. Or Sydney to New York in under an hour and 30 minutes assuming a distance of 9,935.04 miles (15,988.90 km). The Stargazer will take off using regular jet engines, before reaching a cruising altitude of 170,000 feet where it can switch over to its rotating-detonation engine rockets and hit full speed.
After successfully testing the engine, Venus Aerospace has plans to build a 20-foot drone powered by the technology and hopes it will achieve hypersonic flight at Mach 5, before moving on to building a prototype for the manned Stargazer. It’s an exciting time in the aerospace industry and if everything ticks along at this rate, we’ll be moving quicker than ever before soon enough.