A deal has been made between the hypersonic, hydrogen-powered aircraft developer Destinus and the Brazilian on-demand charter flight broker Flapper to establish high-speed cargo delivery flight routes between Europe and Latin America.
While the initial agreement will focus on developing routes for cargo flights, the companies may also explore the possibility of high-speed passenger flights between Europe and Latin AmericaDestinus’s senior business development manager, Martina Lofqvist, told FutureFlight
According to a joint statement released by the two companies today, Destinus and Flapper have signed a letter of intent to “collaborate on a shared purpose to link the world effectively and sustainably.”
But as of right now, according to Lofqvist, Destinus is concentrated on getting its hydrogen-powered hyperplane up and operating for freight operations.
Flight times between the two continents could be significantly shortened thanks to the hyperplane. With the hyperplane, a flight from Paris to Buenos Aires, for instance, could be completed in three to four hours rather than the current 13 to 14 hours it may take, according to Lofqvist. Time-sensitive cargo including medical supplies and emergency replacement components will be transported by Flapper using the new high-speed routes.
The Jungfrau, as the prototype vehicle being developed by Destinus, is known, would be a totally autonomous “hyperplane,” as it stays well below the Karman line but gets pretty close to vacuum for aerodynamic reasons. The actual groundspeed will depend on several parameters and is not as easily stated, but they are aiming for speeds up to Mach 15 at a height of 60 kilometres. The aircraft will then re-enter and continue on its journey.
A spaceplane is a wing aircraft that can leave the ground, fly outside the atmosphere, and then return to the atmosphere using just its own propulsion and navigation. The most well-known is arguably the mysterious (as it is always termed) X-37B of the American government, which is allegedly employed for space-based testing by three-letter agencies.
This is all hypothetical and untested. According to Kokorich, the business flew a small-scale prototype last year that was roughly the length of a car. The guidance, navigation, and control systems that will enable the vessel to function independently are now being finalised.
With initial estimates topping Mach 15 and travelling between any two points on Earth in under two hours, Destinus is currently determining the precise speed at which it intends to cruise, but Lofqvist told FutureFlight that this estimate might be “a little bit overly optimistic.”
This year, we plan to start ground and flight tests of ATR (air turbo rocket) engines with hydrogen as fuel, which we are developing ourselves. Like a turbojet, the ATR engine is an airbreathing jet engine. Due to its parameters, it is a suitable engine for both the subsonic and supersonic flight phases of our hyperplane. Later next year, we plan to fly the next iteration of the prototype with both ATR and a second hydrogen rocket engine. It will be the configuration for our commercial vehiclesMomentus founder and former CEO Mikhail Kokorich (Now Destinus) told TechCrunch earlier this year
Additionally, the hypersonic aircraft will emit no emissions because it will run on “green” hydrogen power, which is hydrogen fuel produced from renewable energy, making it a more environmentally responsible option than current transatlantic trips-Lofqvist elucidated.
Latin America is a key market to us. This partnership with Flapper will help us gain direct insight on the express cargo market and to explore new route options across the Atlantic Oceansaid Destinus CEO Mikhail Kokorich
The contract between Flapper and Destinus is the company’s initial commitment to hypersonic flying. To promote regional, passenger-carrying flights in Latin America, Flapper recently also committed to purchase up to 30 hybrid-electric eSTOL aircraft from Electra as well as 25 of Jaunt Air Mobility’s Jaunt Journey eVTOL aircraft. The business has also teamed up with Eve Air Mobility to build out the region’s eVTOL air taxi networks.
Destinus has so far built two prototype aircraft and tested both of them in flight, but the company hasn’t yet broken the sound barrier or flown using hydrogen fuel. According to Lofqvist of FutureFlight, The Swiss are developing its first hydrogen-fed air turborocket (ATR) engine and constructing a test facility for it. By the end of this year, Destinus hopes to start testing the first hydrogen components on the ground.
In many countries, there are several prohibitions on autonomous and supersonic aircraft, and Destinus’s ship would be both.
SOURCE(s) : FutureFlight.Aero | TechCruch