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Hermeus Unveils Its First Hypersonic Flight Vehicle

Atlanta-Based Startup Shows Off First Hypersonic Airplane

Hermeus, an Atlanta-based startup, has unveiled its first flight vehicle, marking a significant step towards developing hypersonic aircraft capable of flying at least Mach 5, or 3,836 miles per hour. Unlike traditional hypersonic aircraft that require rocket engines and a larger aircraft for launching, Hermeus is developing two hypersonic aircraft with jet engines that can take off and land from runways.

One of these aircraft, Darkhorse, is an uncrewed, reusable drone for the military, while the other, Halcyon, is a commercial passenger plane designed to significantly reduce flight times, potentially cutting the standard 7-hour flight between New York and London down to just 90 minutes.

Before developing Darkhorse and Halcyon, Hermeus is focusing on creating four test vehicles called Quarterhorse Mk 0, Mk 1, Mk 2, and Mk 3, each building on the capabilities of the previous one. Quarterhorse Mk 0 was a non-flying prototype used for ground-based capabilities, while Mk 1 is an uncrewed, remotely piloted plane intended for testing high-speed takeoff and landing. Mk 2, equipped with a Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, aims to demonstrate supersonic flight in 2025. Following the testing of Mk 2, Mk 3 is planned to be used to break the all-time speed record for an air-breathing plane, currently held by the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird at 2,193.2 mph.

Despite the ambitious goals, success is not guaranteed, and Hermeus faces challenges in technology development, safety, and regulatory approval. However, the potential impact of their hypersonic aircraft on both military applications and commercial air travel is significant, offering the possibility of dramatically reduced flight times and opening new possibilities for global connectivity.

FMI: www.hermeus.com


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