US hypersonic startup tests engine in wind tunnel


Startup Velontra has successfully tested its hypersonic turbo-ramjet engine inside Purdue University’s wind tunnel.

The afterburning turbojet called the Bronco is capable of delivering thrust at greater than Mach 5, over five times the speed of sound (3,500mph) According to Ohio, USA-based Velontra, the engine is the first-of-its-kind.

Velontra CEO Robert Keane III said, “It is powerful, small, and anything but tame. It is ready to buck the system. We sent it through a wind tunnel at Purdue University at speeds over Mach 4.5 and altitude simulated over 100,000ft, and it successfully screamed through vigorous testing with flying colors.”

Velontra aims to integrate the Bronco hypersonic propulsion system into small drones to make them supersonic for commercial and military use. The company also plans to build an unmanned spaceplane that can be used as a platform for launching satellites.

“We have more than doubled our company size in the last six months, and our scientists/engineers have advanced Velontra’s hypersonic propulsion system, making our technology a premier market leader in the US as we compete with the hypersonic capabilities of China and Russia,” said Keane.

The afterburner enables speed over Mach 2 without increasing drag. In ramjet mode, this is increased to over Mach 5. Joel Darin, Velontra’s Chief Technology Officer said, “Our propulsion technology is an advanced start-of-the-art system enabling capabilities and applications never before seen.”

The Bronco propulsion system will be the horsepower behind Velontra’s hypersonic aircraft. This prototype will evolve into the system that will take Velontra’s Space Plane into Low Earth Orbit more efficiently and reliably than has ever been done before.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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