Who Owns China’s Super-Fast Hypersonic Plane? U.S. Is in the Race Too

China is developing a super-fast hypersonic plane that could get from N.Y.C. to Beijing in an hour. Who owns the beast? A Chinese firm and state institutions are involved.

Rachel Curry - Author

Feb. 4 2022, Published 10:50 a.m. ET

What if you could get from N.Y.C. to Beijing in an hour? For anyone who wears compression socks on a plane, the idea is a dream. Now, that dream could be turning into reality. China’s super-fast hypersonic plane can travel a reported 2,600 miles per hour. Who owns China's hypersonic plane?

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A Chinese firm owns the hypersonic plane, but state institutions are involved too. Here are the details, plus whether the U.S. stands a chance in the hypersonic race to the finish line.

China continues to make developments in its hypersonic flight.

China has created a combination aircraft and winged rocket that can travel 2,600 miles per hour, which means that it can get from N.Y.C. to Beijing in an hour. To use it, passengers board the upright plane, which then takes off via two rocket boosters and eventually lands back in a vertical position.

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A spokesperson told Chinese reporters that the planes are cheaper than “rockets carrying satellites and [...] faster than a traditional aircraft.” The planes will fly through suborbital space and researchers hope that the aircraft will eventually be used for space tourism. The plane's ability to get from point to point on Earth at wildly fast speeds is a more accessible mission, however.

Researchers and a parent institution are behind China's hypersonic plane.

Chinese firm Space Transportation owns the hypersonic plane and is working to get it ready for commercial use.

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Space Transportation says that it will conduct ground tests in 2023 and hopes to conduct the first test flight in 2024. Passengers have already entered the plane to model how it boards.

Space Transportation is also known as Beijing Lingkong Tianxing Technology Co., Ltd. The Chinese company has received $60.6 million in funding thanks to lead investors Matrix Partners China, Volcanics Ventures, and Source Code Capital.

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In 2018, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences helmed the project. The academy’s parent institution is the State Council of China. The academy was founded in 1949 by the Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government but fell under the State Council of China’s control five years later.

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U.S. companies are also developing hypersonic flight.

If you thought China was developing hypersonic flight on its own, you’re mistaken. Companies in the U.S. are ensuring their own spot in the leading research, too.

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The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has contracted three companies to lead the charge for hypersonic missile interceptors:

  • Lockheed Martin

  • Northrop Grumman

  • Raytheon Missiles and Defense

There’s also Boeing, which has the Valkyrie, a reusable, unmanned hypersonic aircraft. This concept is in the early stages, but it could reportedly reach speeds of Mach 5—or about 3,836 miles per hour. An Air Force-backed startup named Hermeus has a hypersonic aircraft prototype as well.

As for how far our hypersonic flight really is, that estimate is up for debate. There will likely be delays in the highly complex and innovative process. Before the general public gets on a hypersonic flight across Earth, they’re going to need deeper research on the human impact of traveling at such high and hot speeds.


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