Destinus’ first prototype – Jungfrau – conducted its maiden flight on November 19 at an airport near Munich. The 5-minute flight test took off on a Friday afternoon and performed several loops in subsonic velocity. A key question to be answered on this day was how the hypersonic aero shape would operate at low speeds during the critical phases of take-off and landing.
Jungfrau, about the size of a car, accelerated down the runway approaching 80 km/h where it lifted into the air. And with this, Destinus takes off! The vehicle performed some loops in the air at different altitudes and velocities. Shortly after, Jungfrau was flying only 20 meters above the runway at a speed of 150 km/h before turning one last time for approach and landing. It was a success and with this, we verified that it could fly with this hypersonic shape!
This vehicle is the first in a series of development vehicles that Destinus is building. The next one will be ready in early 2022 and it will be the size of a bus. We have an agile approach to product development, where we build hardware iteratively. The Jungfrau vehicle was designed, built, and tested within just 4 months. It gave the team experience on the development process, how to operate our prototypes, and how to coordinate test flights with airports and regulators.
Now, Jungfrau is in our hangar at Payerne airport undergoing hardware and software upgrades. This prototype is a test-bed for developing autonomy with future flights taking place in early 2022.
We are very proud and grateful to the team that achieved this!