Boom Supersonic, the company that dreams of developing a commercial supersonic aircraft half a century after the Concorde, announced Friday that it had raised $ 100 million.
This massive fund brings the company’s total funding to $ 141 million, the group said in a statement. Several investment funds, along with technology groups like Google, Airbnb and Dropbox, are supporting the startup, based in Denver, Colorado.
This will allow the company to advance in the development of its supersonic aircraft called “Overture”, which should fly up to Mach 2,2, more than twice the speed of sound, to carry 55 passengers.
It will be the “first economically viable supersonic aircraft in the world”, promises the founder of the company, and former employee of Amazon, Blake Scholl, in reference to the Concorde, commissioned in 1969, and who has always struggled to find an clientele.
The Concorde was removed from service following an accident in 2000, when a plane crashed shortly after taking off from Paris, killing 113 people.
Some analysts, however, remain skeptical about attempts to revive supersonic flights, because of the high costs, the noise they generate and the limited capacity of passengers.
Mr. Blake promises to “make high-speed flying accessible to everyone,” referring to the use of technologies that will allow the aircraft to be silent at take-off and landing, and to use cleaner fuel for the craft. The first flight of a prototype is scheduled for this year.
Despite those doubts on hypersonic planes, Boom is not the only company working to revive the technology. American aerospace giant Boeing unveiled in June its concept of an “hypersonic” airliner, which it hopes to fly at Mach 5 – five times the speed of sound– for an eventual commissioning in 20 or 30 years.
In April, NASA signed an agreement with the other US giant, Lockheed Martin, to develop a supersonic “X-plane”.