The Internet has brought the world together in a virtual village that enabled us to comprehend the vastness of this planet and connect people from different countries, culture, and religion. We have developed a sense of intimacy that makes us feel that the world isn’t so big.
People often wonder, what a small world after all? That is until you hop on a plane to see the world that you usually only get to appreciate through the small screen on your hand. You’ll feel small, a speck in the reality of how big the planet actually is.
In perspective, a flight from California to New York would take 5 hours of your time; not counting the long wait at the airport. And if it takes that long to travel to a place that’s located in the same country, it can only be expected that flights across different countries would last even longer.
In the end, the connection that the Internet was able to give extends only as far as your phone is connected to WiFi. Physical intimacy, that remains unmatched, is still limited by how far you’re willing to travel.
This is the idea that inspired Hermeus. Hermeus is a US startup company looking to bridge the gap between the virtual world and the physical world through innovating how we travel today. They want to bring people, or even cities closer together, just like how the Internet brought us the virtual village.
“We’ve set out on a journey to revolutionize the global transportation infrastructure, bringing it from the equivalent of dial-up into the broadband era, by radically increasing the speed of travel over long distances,” said Hermeus co-founder and CEO AJ Piplica. “We’re excited to work with Khosla Ventures to turn this vision into reality.”
Hermeus announced that it plans on developing a hypersonic jet that would travel five times faster than the speed of sound or Mach 5. They’re envisioning a passenger plane that would haul people from one city to another at speeds reaching past 3,000 miles an hour.
Hermeus believes that planes traveling at Mach 5 and over would drastically change how people travel in the future. Imagine getting on a flight from London to New York, but instead of getting bummed out on a 7-hour flight, Hermeus would transport you to the said destination for two hours
“Hermeus is developing an aircraft that not only improves the aviation experience with very reduced flight times but also has the potential to have a great societal and economic impact,” said Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures.
The project is reported to be funded through a Seed round investment led by Khosla Ventures, along with other private and commercial investors.
The hypersonic jet is also said to be developed by a team of experts collaborating on the technical, engineering, and even the business side of the venture. Specifically, the Hermeus founders include former employees from SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket start-up, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. All four founders worked together at Generation Orbit, where they worked on the development of a hypersonic rocket-plane and the US Air Force’s newest X-Plane.
Rob Meyerson had this to say, “With experience from the best of NewSpace companies, the Hermeus team is well positioned to disrupt the hypersonics industry.”
Rob Weiss added, “I think we have a first-class team – Hermeus and advisors. It seems to me if there’s a team that can achieve this big goal, it’s Hermeus.”
As of the moment, Hermeus’ plans on developing this jet is quite ambitious especially that there is still no concrete idea on how this is to materialize. Moreover, it is also reported that it will take at least a decade to make the technology available commercially.
Moreover, it’s not going to be cheap as the same that it’s not going to be efficient. Traveling at Mach 5 speeds would burn a lot of fuel at a short amount of time. As an estimate, a one-way flight from London to New York would approximately cost around $3,000. Not to mention the environmental impact these planes would result to.
There’s also the question on how normal people would physically receive the impact of hypersonic flight. Specifically, the propulsion factor.
There are a lot of questions that need answers. Hopefully, Hermeus gets to answer them overtime considering that they’re still on the stage where their idea remains to be an idea.