Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Venus Aerospace building hypersonic plane to get you anywhere on Earth in one hour

Venus Aerospace, a Houston-based startup, is one of the newest space technology companies working to push the walls of innovation as it relates to air travel. The aerospace company is building a hypersonic aircraft that would be able to carry you across the globe in just an hour – no matter where you are on Earth.

It’s no doubt that space technology is advancing as commercial companies like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are consistently launching historic missions. But what Venus Aerospace is hoping to do is a little bit different.

Instead of going to space, the aircraft will travel along the edge of space at hypersonic speed. Not only is that faster than sound, but it’s also faster than some spacecraft travel on their way out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Venus Aerospace’s hypersonic plane is expected to travel 12 times faster than the speed of sound and reach an altitude of 150,000 feet.

The concept is supposed to combine an innovative shape with an advanced rocket engine and, of course, it will be emission-free. The company says it has already built a demonstration engine and completed initial testing at several hypersonic wind tunnels and propulsion test facilities in the U.S.

Also, it recently raised a $20 million Series A funding round led by Prime Movers Lab, which invests in breakthrough scientific companies that reinvent and transform the way we live and operate. With this round, Venus has raised $33M in total funding that could fly passengers from Los Angeles to Tokyo in one hour. The new round of funding will be used to mature its three main technologies – a NextGen Rocket Engine, innovative aircraft shape, and leading-edge cooling, which allows the spaceplane to take off from existing spaceports using existing infrastructure.

“The U.S. is in the middle of a global race for hypersonic technology, and the breakthroughs being developed by Sassie, Andrew, and their team have numerous civilian and defense applications,” Prime Movers Lab General Partner Brandon Simmons said. “Venus hit critical engine tests, vehicle design, and growth milestones that make me tremendously excited about the future of American hypersonic flight.”

“These recent advances in technology finally enable a spaceplane, a vehicle long imagined, but only now possible,” said Andrew Duggleby, CTO and co-founder. “We will use this round of funding to get into flight testing and engine testing at Spaceport Houston. Bringing this technology forward into systems, drones, and, ultimately, spaceplanes, it will take both new space veterans and bright new minds to solve. We’ve gone from impossible to hard, and this investment will allow us to knock down the next few steps.”