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Concorde is dead in the water, but the dream of supersonic passenger flight is most certainly not. Boom is relatively fresh startup that is looking to make this dream a reality once more, and they’re getting some serious backing to do it.

Boom is trying to design a supersonic passenger plane that can go over twice the speed of sound at 2,719 km/h. A plane this fast could ferry passengers from London to New York in less than 3.5 hours.

It’s still early days for development, but the team behind Boom hopes to fly its first prototype as soon as end of 2017. It sounds fantastical, but Boom has some serious brain power working on the project. The company’s 11 employees have helped over 30 aircraft get off the ground, and have contributed to fighter plane engines, the autopilot system on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and flight dynamics on Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipTwo. They’ve gathered from all the big players in the industry – NASA, Lockheed, Boeing – and they mean business.

At least some industry leaders seem to think so, too. Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has just optioned ten planes in a deal valued at some $2 billion. Another 15 planes have been optioned to an undisclosed European carrier, at a further $3 billion, according to Boom.

Virgin is getting behind the project with full support. The Spaceship Company, Virgin Galactic’s space division, will be building and testing the planes when the time comes, according to Boom founder Blake Scholl.

“We can confirm that The Spaceship Company will provide engineering, design and manufacturing services, flight tests and operations and that we have an option on the first 10 airframes. It is still early days and just the start of what you’ll hear about our shared ambitions and efforts,” a Virgin Group spokeswoman told The Guardian.