Virgin Galactic, a vertically integrated aerospace and space local travel agent, which includes its manufacturer of advanced air and space vehicles, The Spaceship Company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rolls-Royce to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high speed commercial aircraft.

This marks a forward in Virgin Galactic’s growth and development of a new generation of high-speed aircraft, in partnership with industry and government leaders. Rolls-Royce includes a proven record of delivering high Mach propulsion, powering the only real civil-certified commercial aircraft (Concorde) capable of supersonic flight.

George Whitesides, Chief Space Officer, Virgin Galactic said: “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.

“We're pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce once we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for that aircraft, and we are pleased to work with the FAA to ensure our designs can make a practical impact from the start.

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

“We are excited to partner with Virgin Galactic and TSC to explore the future of sustainable high speed flight,” said Rolls-Royce North America Chairman & CEO Tom Bell. “Rolls-Royce brings a unique history in high speed propulsion, going back to the Concorde, and offers world-class technical capabilities to build up and field the advanced propulsion systems required to power commercially available high-Mach travel.”

The basic parameters from the initial high speed aircraft design include a targeted Mach 3 certified delta-wing aircraft that will have capacity for 9 to 19 people in an altitude above 60,000 feet and would also be able to incorporate custom cabin layouts to deal with customer needs, including Business or First Class seating arrangements.

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