Virgin Galactic has formed a partnership with Rolls-Royce to develop a supersonic business jet that will fly at three times the speed of sound — making the journey from London to New York only 90 minutes. The aircraft, on which Nasa has also collaborated, would fly between nine and 19 passengers and crew at an altitude above 60,000 feet, according to a design unveiled yesterday.

Virgin Galactic said that it aimed to make high-speed air travel “practical, sustainable, safe and reliable”. George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic’s chief space officer, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce as we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for the aircraft … We look forward to opening up a new frontier in high-speed travel.”

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