Lebanon, Ohio-based startup Velontra has announced the successful testing of a first-of-its-kind hypersonic turbo-ramjet engine. It is a small, powerful system that will deliver thrust at greater than Mach 5, over five times the speed of sound or 3,500 miles per hour.
“We call this new afterburning turbojet Bronco,” says Velontra CEO Robert Keane III. “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 100,000 feet, and it successfully screamed through vigorous testing with flying colors.”
Bronco takes Velontra to the forefront of hypersonic frontier. This unique hypersonic propulsion system is ready to be integrated into small unmanned aerial vehicles. Its power can accelerate a drone well past the sound barrier, thus living up to its name.
Founded in 2021, Cincinnati area-based Velontra was selected to participate in the prestigious Silicon Valley's Y-Combinator. The organization has mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs and assisted them with acquiring venture capital. Besides Velontra, some of its “graduates” include wildly successful endeavors such as Airbnb, Uber, Instacart, Dropbox, and DoorDash.
“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 U.S. as we compete with the hypersonic capabilities of China and Russia,” says Keane.
The afterburner is an additional combustion component used on some jet engines, primarily high-performance fighter aircraft. Its purpose is to increase thrust for flight, takeoff and combat. It enables speed in excess of Mach 2 without increasing drag. In ramjet mode, this is increased to over Mach 5.
“Velontra is a nimble, top-quality and low-cost alternative to traditional aviation organizations that get bogged down with high overhead and administrative layers that slow progress,” says Velontra's Chief Technology Officer Joel Darin. “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 first 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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