MIAMI – Hermeus has recently signed a Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA to develop hypersonic commercial aircraft.

Hermeus, an aerospace corporation that currently develops Mach 5 aircraft, is working with NASA to commercialize high-speed technology which NASA has researched for decades.

As part of the agreement, NASA will determine the technological maturity and exchange knowledge in the subject. Moreover, both organizations will work together to enhance aircraft operating concepts.

Meanwhile, they will collaborate on high Mach thrust performance research, thermal control, advanced power generation, and airframe systems.

This collaboration reflects NASA’s investment in commercial high-speed flight. The segment is about the pace at which people can travel around the world. Moreover it is dramatically raising through the advancement of hypersonic commercial flight researches.

According to Hermeus’s press release, NASA has a long tradition of working on hypersonic aircraft, starting with the X-15, a piloted rocket plane that soared at Mach 6.7 in 1967. More recently, NASA developed the X-43, an experimental aircraft that flew at Mach 9.6 in 2004.

Hermeus’ demo engine being tested across the full Mach range. Photo: Hermeus

Strategic Partnership

Chuck Leonard, project manager of NASA’s Hypersonic Technology Project (HTP) said, “high-speed flight represents the next frontier in commercial passenger travel and has the potential to radically impact how people interact. NASA looks forward to working with Hermeus towards that faster future,”

The project aims to maintain the hypersonic capability for national purposes while also promoting basic hypersonics science.

As such, the US Government is on the same page with Hermeus in its vision of commercializing hypersonic commercial flights. In 2020, the US Air Force selected Hermeus to explore how its concept will fulfill the objectives of the Presidential and Executive Airlift Board.

Hermeus notes its dedication to supplying the global aviation network with the quickest commercial aircraft. The firm added that the testing conducted through collaboration is key to making the replacement more rapidly.

Test points of Hermeus’ demo engine. Chart: Hermeus

Path to Commercialization

NASA and Hermeus together will develop the technological solutions and specifically implement and test on Hermeus’ GE J85 jet engine, which is the heart of the first series of the aircraft’s turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC).

Also, Hermeus is using Series A funding will modify this engine to reach Mach 5 in the coming months, utilizing lessons learned from its 9-month demonstration engine test program performed last year.

“NASA has been at the forefront of developments in high-speed flight since its creation in 1958,” said Michael Smayda, Founder, and chief product officer at Hermeus. “We are excited to partner with NASA as we develop the technology to revolutionize long-distance air travel.”

About the Company

Hermeus is a venture-backed company with the long-term vision of “transforming the global human transportation network with Mach 5 aircraft.” At Mach 5 – over 3000 miles per hour – flight times from New York to London will be 90 minutes rather than seven hours.

High-speed aircraft offer disruptive differentiation where the main metric is speed — which has historically resulted in economic expansion — over plush seats. Mach 5 aircraft have the potential to create an additional US$2tn of global economic growth per year, unlocking significant resources that, according to the company, “can be utilized to solve the world’s great problems.”

Featured image: Hermeus testing a GE J85 engine, which will power the first Mach 5 aircraft. Photo: Hermeus