A Swiss aerospace startup has made significant progress in merging eco-friendly and hypersonic technologies with the successful test flight of a prototype drone. Destinus CEO Mikhail Kokorich hailed the event as a demonstration of the potential for high-performance propulsion systems that are both efficient and environmentally friendly.

The unmanned Jungfrau prototype took off from a Munich airport and showcased the functionality and efficiency of hydrogen afterburners in real-world conditions. While it reached speeds of about 155 mph, a far cry from the threshold of hypersonic flight, the experiments validated the effectiveness of hydrogen afterburners. Destinus, a team of aerospace experts from across Europe, developed the afterburners in-house and integrated them with a conventional jet turbine powered by Jet A fuel. By injecting hydrogen into the exhaust stream, the system generated higher speeds and climb rates. This hybrid approach combining hydrogen and jet fuel not only improves efficiency but also reduces carbon emissions, as hydrogen only emits heat and water vapor instead of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

Despite the initial success with the afterburners, Destinus plans to proceed cautiously. The company aims to test the world’s first supersonic drone powered by hydrogen next year before progressing to larger prototype jets. The ultimate objective is to develop an aircraft capable of transporting people and cargo across the globe in a matter of hours. Destinus envisions that a hypersonic flight from Memphis to Tokyo could be completed in just three hours and 15 minutes, while the journey from Memphis to Frankfurt would be an hour shorter than conventional flights.

This groundbreaking development marks a significant step toward realizing the vision of eco-friendly hypersonic travel, revolutionizing air transportation and making long-distance journeys faster and more sustainable.

By Impact Lab