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article imageU.S. aerospace startup unveils plans for hypersonic aircraft

By Karen Graham     May 19, 2019 in Technology
Atlanta - Atlanta-based startup Hermeus Corp. announced plans to develop an aircraft that could travel at speeds of up to Mach 5 — cutting travel time from New York to London from seven hours to 90 minutes.
On May 13, the startup announced the results of a Seed Round investment, which was led by Khosla Ventures, with additional participation from private investors. The financing will further the development and test of Hermeus' hypersonic propulsion system.
Menlo Park, California-based Khosla Ventures is an American venture capital firm focused on early-stage companies in the Internet, computing, mobile, silicon technology, biotechnology, healthcare and clean technology sectors that was founded by Vinod Khosla in 2004.
''Hermeus is developing an aircraft that not only improves the aviation experience with very reduced flight times but also has the potential to have great societal and economic impact," Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, said in the statement.
Hermeus was founded in 2018, with the goal of developing aircraft capable of flight in excess of Mach 5 - over 3,000 miles per hour. The company co-founders make up its four-member staff of alumni from SpaceX and Blue Origin. The members also worked together at Generation Orbit, where AJ Piplica served as CEO and Glenn Case, Mike Smayda, and Skyler Shuford served as technical directors.
While working at Generation Orbit, they led the development of the X-60A, a hypersonic rocket-plane, and the Air Force’s newest X-Plane.
The new startup just opened its offices at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. Skylar Shuford told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the company plans on hiring two or three more people over the next couple of months. The company will also seek series A funding in about a year, depending on meeting technical milestones.
The company's work is based on propulsion technologies that would make their hypersonic jet fly three times faster than the now-retired Concorde, according to Fox News. They are looking at using titanium for construction, while the propulsion system will be powered by a turbine-based, combined cycle engine.
"We aren't getting into anything too miraculous," Shuford, the company's chief operating officer, told Ars Technica. "We want to do engineering, not science."
The company plans on working toward a demonstrator vehicle over the next five years that travels at Mach 5, before developing aircraft for commercial service eight to 10 years from now, Shuford said.
More about Hermeus, Hypersonic Aircraft, Khosla Ventures, mach 5, atlantabased'
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