Sir Richard Branson is making a big push in commercial supersonic air travel.
Branson has announced that Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing team, The Spaceship Company, has partnered with Colorado-based Boom Supersonic to work on Boom’s new supersonic airplane.
Boom introduced its XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator this week, a subscale prototype of the Boom supersonic passenger airliner.
“Baby Boom,” as the company calls it, is the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet and the fastest civil aircraft ever made.
The planned plane would be the fastest civil aircraft ever, succeeding (and surpassing) Concorde, with a top speed of Mach 2.2, or 1,451 MPH. That’s 2.6 times faster than any other airliner.
The Boom plane, which would have a ticket cost of $2,500 each way, would make the trip from New York to London in three hours and 15 minutes, down from a traditional time of about 7 hours. It would carry 45 passengers.
Its first test flight is planned for late 2017.
Branson, who lives on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, announced in March that Virgin had an option on Boom’s first 10 airplanes.
The Spaceship Company has been selected to apply its manufacturing, development and test capability for the Boom plane.
“Supersonic travel for both cargo and humans will result in many exciting and efficient benefits,” Branson said. “There are tremendous hurdles ahead and equally there are lots of terrific people and companies all working together to finally make supersonic travel a reality.”