New Hydrogen-Powered Supersonic Plane Unveiled at Paris Air Show

New Hydrogen-Powered Supersonic Plane Unveiled at Paris Air Show

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The European aerospace startup called “Destinus” unveiled its third demonstrator plane, Destinus 3, at the Paris Air Show. The startup is working to build commercial hypersonic passenger aircrafts that are only fuelled by hydrogen.

According to Interesting Engineering, Destinus is working towards a 2030 launch of a hydrogen-powered aircraft that will fly passengers between Frankfurt and Shanghai in just under three hours, eight hours shorter than on a conventional plane.

The startup chose hydrogen as a fuel because its calorific value is three times that of kerosene used in aircraft today. It also has exceptional cooling capabilities which makes it an ideal fuel for combined-cycle engines.

Destinus is set to launch its first fully hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft between 2030 and 2032. The aircraft dubbed Destinus S is planned to ferry 25 passengers. About a decade later the company aims to introduce the Destinus L, which is a larger variant capable of carrying up to 400 passengers.

Destinus has so far successfully demonstrated flight on its first prototype Destinus 1, a four-meter vehicle also called Jungfrau. In October 2022, the company demonstrated its 10-meter vehicle Eiger, a subsonic flight.

Last month, Destinus successfully flight-tested its hydrogen-fuelled afterburner technology, which is also being featured on the Destinus 3. “The propulsion system for Destinus 3 will incorporate a kerosene-fuelled turbojet engine in conjunction with a liquid hydrogen-fuelled afterburner,” said the CEO of Destinus, Mikhail Kokorich, in a press release. “We’re also developing plans to trial a fully hydrogen-based system for both turbojet and afterburner.”

In this demonstrator, Destinus will also showcase its novel autopilot system. Flight campaigns using liquid hydrogen as a fuel are set to begin in early 2024. During the early stages, Destinus will attempt subsonic flight and aim for supersonic flight in the latter half of 2024.

When completed, Destinus 3 will be the first hydrogen-powered uncrewed aerial vehicle to reach speeds of Mach 1.3.