Los Angeles to Tokyo in an hour – a Texas startup is building a Mach 12 hypersonic plane that could dramatically reduce travel times

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  • Venus Aerospace, a Houston startup, said its working on a Mach 12 hypersonic aircraft.
  • Travel between Los Angeles and Tokyo could take a hour, the company said.
  • Prime Movers Lab led Venus Aerospace’s $3 million seed funding round in March.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Venus Aerospace, a Houston startup, said it’s working on a Mach 12 hypersonic aircraft that would cut travel time from Los Angeles to Tokyo to one hour.

“This is for regular people,” CEO Sarah “Sassie” Duggleby told Bloomberg Businessweek.

At top speed, the aircraft would be moving about 12 times the speed of sound, The Houston Chronicle reported. Most commercial flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo make the trip in about 12 hours.

The company said on its website that it’s made breakthroughs in engine efficiency, aircraft shape, and edge cooling technology. That tech would make “one-hour global transport cost-effective,” the company said.

Venus Aerospace in early March announced a $3 million seed fundraising round led by Prime Movers Lab.

“This futuristic concept that was once a dream is now reality, and watching it physically unfold with a team of talented scientists and engineers is just incredible,” Duggleby said in a press statement at the time.

The company’s aircraft would travel at an altitude of about 150,000 feet, or about 28.4 miles, almost four times higher than most passenger jets, according to reports.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic last week completed its third flight to the edge of space, hitting Mach 3 and an altitude of 55.45 miles. Space begins about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface, according to NASA and the US military.

Venus Aerospace relocated to Texas from California to be closer to the Houston Spaceport, said Brandon Simmons, of Prime Movers Lab, in a blog post.

Simmons wrote that Duggleby previously worked at Virgin Orbit. Cofounder and CTO Andrew Duggleby held positions at both Virgin Orbit and Virgin Galactic. The startup has about 15 employees.

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