Virgin Galactic has announced the first stage design scope for its high speed aircraft design, and signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rolls-Royce to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high speed commercial aircraft.

The design philosophy of the aircraft is geared around making high speed travel practical, sustainable, safe, and reliable, while making customer experience a top priority.

The basic parameters of the initial design include a targeted Mach-3 certified aircraft with capacity for 9 to 19 people at an altitude above 60,000 feet. The aircraft would also be able to incorporate custom cabin layouts to address customer needs, including Business or First Class seating arrangements.

Rolls-Royce is a leader in cutting-edge technologies that deliver high Mach propulsion, and powered Concorde—the only civil-certified, supersonic commercial aircraft.

“We are excited to complete the Mission Concept Review and unveil this initial design concept of a high speed aircraft, which we envision as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivalled customer experience”

said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic’s Chief Space Officer.

“We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high speed travel,” he added.

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