The ‘Stargazer’ Hypersonic Jet Soars At 9 Times the Speed Of Sound
This 6,905-mph private jet concept can circle the globe in under six hours.
There still hasn’t been a supersonic flight service offered since the Concorde, but that isn’t stopping Houston’s Venus Aerospace from pushing commercial air travel to new heights…and speeds.
The Stargazer isn’t just supersonic, but hypersonic. By definition, hypersonic flight occurs at Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, or 3,836 mph. But Venus Aerospace believes that its private jet concept will crack Mach 9, or 6,905 mph. For reference, the fastest flight ever recorded was achieved by the hypersonic rocket-powered North American X-15 in October of 1967, when it reached the Mach 6.7.
The X-15 had to be drop-launched at a high altitude from a B-52 mother ship, as its design caused too much drag at low speeds. The Stargazer, however, features two separate propulsion systems—jet engines will handle takeoff from a primary airport, and when the aircraft is beyond the limits of a major city, a rocket engine will bring the aircraft up to Mach 9 and 170,000 feet.
Flight times will of course be lowered substantially. Venus Aerospace promises journeys from San Francisco to Japan or Houston to London in one hour. Put another way, the Stargazer is capable of circling the entire globe in under six hours, which is about the time it takes for a current passenger jet to cross the continental United States.
According to Robb Report, a crucial technology aboard the Stargazer is the rotating detonation engine, which spins at 20,000 revolutions per second and burns 20 percent less fuel than a conventional aircraft engine.
“Rotating detonation means the supersonic combustion happens continuously inside the engine and our video shows the detonation wave moving around the engine at supersonic speeds,” noted the company after its recent successful test of a prototype at its Spaceport Houston headquarters.
“This represents a key advancement towards real flying systems, both for defense applications and ultimately commercial high-speed travel,” said Jim Bridenstine, former NASA administrator and US Congressman, following the test, per Robb Report.
For now, the Stargazer’s maiden voyage is a long way off. With $33 million raised, Venus Aerospace has moved development far enough along to begin building a hypersonic, 20-foot drone targeting Mach 5. Following the drone’s success, the company will scale-up to build a Stargazer prototype.