If Virgin Galactic's supersonic jet performs as well as expected, the company would easily break a long-standing transatlantic airline record.
The company's design is for a jet that would reach speeds of Mach 3, or about 2,300 miles per hour. Based on the estimated flight time of a Mach 3-capable aircraft, that means Virgin Galactic's jet would fly from New York City to London in about 2 hours.
That would shatter the current transatlantic commercial flight record, set by a British Airways supersonic Concorde jet in February 1996. That flight went from New York City to London in 2 hours, 52 minutes, 59 seconds — with the Concorde averaging 1,250 miles per hour, or about Mach 2.
Virgin Galactic on Monday announced it is partnering with Rolls-Royce to develop a supersonic jet, after the company completed a concept design review with NASA. The aircraft represents a long-term investment for Virgin Galactic, as it will take the company years to develop and test a supersonic jet. Virgin Galactic said the aircraft would be capable of carrying between 9 and 19 passengers and would cruise at an altitude above 60,000 feet.
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