Destinus is an aerospace technology company founded in the belief that in the future, far distances shouldn’t matter. We are therefore developing hypersonic air freight vehicles and associated infrastructure that will power the world’s fastest and cleanest transportation system for global mobility. Headquartered in Switzerland, with offices in Germany, Spain, and France, Destinus conducts all phases of design, manufacturing, and flight operations.
Why is now the right time?
The whole history of humanity is the story of our struggle with space and time. Mastering new horizons, moving ever farther; driven by the desire for a better life or for wealth, out of fear or out of sheer curiosity, people have found ever faster, easier, cheaper, and safer ways to explore distant land. The mastering of new territories is impossible to imagine without transportation systems. The invention and proliferation of new means of moving people and goods — such as railways, aviation, containers — has created the modern economy that we know.
However, not much has happened in the aviation industry over the past decades. There haven’t been any major breakthroughs since the 1950s with the invention of the jet turbine, which we are still flying today! Now, we see an explosion of new concepts for air mobility, that also tries to open a new angle – sustainability. The aviation industry is one of the primary pollutants on Earth. Aviation currently accounts for 2.5% of humanity’s carbon emissions. The delivery of cargo or passengers creates 10-100x times more CO2 emissions than terrestrial or marine transport. The demand for air transport is growing; both in terms of cargo delivery and passenger flights. Now is the time to disrupt the aviation industry, by developing new and sustainable propulsion solutions.
Almost all of the new companies aim to revolutionize local transport. However, without a revolution on long-haul transportation by air, we will not be able to change the face of this big sector. And so Destinus was founded in 2021, with a goal to transform the air transportation industry through hypersonic air freight.
What is it that makes Destinus so BOLD?
Moving at the border of space, our hydrogen-powered vehicles will be ten times faster than conventional aircraft, providing the just-in-time backbone for logistics, e-commerce, and supply chain companies. These hypersonic air freight vehicles will be a hybrid between an airplane and a rocket – we call them Hyperplanes – defining a new class of fast with the capability to provide global delivery in less than 2 hours. They will take off and land horizontally from airports using green hydrogen as fuel, produced from renewable energy sources for clean transportation. In addition, the company is developing the necessary ground infrastructure to operate these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) safely in coordination with existing airport infrastructure – we call these Hyperports. These mobility centres will help enable smarter movements of goods, knowledge, and ideas, allowing for a new world of possibilities to transform through hypersonic air freight.
Why is speed so important to Destinus?
In the future, it will make a significant difference to have certain products available in an instant manner. By developing hypersonic air freight vehicles capable of travelling at velocities significantly above the speed of sound, we can decrease the trip time between Frankfurt and Hong Kong from 11 hours to about 1 hour. The world is already in need of express delivery for emergency spare parts, critical equipment, perishable high-value goods, and just-in-time logistics. Our roadmap to high volume manufacturing will open the door to massive commercial markets as the price point drops to meet that of commercial airlines today. Additionally, the demand for sustainable solutions will continue to grow.
Why did Destinus choose Hydrogen as fuel?
Biofuels can displace trees or food crops, while batteries are too heavy for anything more than short trips. Hydrogen, in contrast, can be generated using wind or solar power, and has a high energy density. Clean hydrogen is currently enjoying unprecedented political and business momentum, with the number of policies and projects around the world expanding rapidly. Besides being an ecological and energy dense fuel, we also chose hydrogen for its great thermodynamic properties. At hypersonic velocities, massive heat is generated on the vehicle airframe, with temperatures around the structure reaching thousands of degrees. For this, we can use Hydrogen to cool the leading edges of the vehicle.
What new technology is Destinus developing?
Destinus is developing a range of technologies that are key to achieving commercial readiness of the hyperplanes for hypersonic air freight delivery. Each technology aims at reaching flight qualification, to be integrated and operated safely in our products.
For Destinus, being in the business of high-speed transportation, propulsion technology plays an enabling role and is of paramount importance. As the hyperplanes are working with several propulsive devices – Aero Turbo Rocket (ATR) engines, rocket engines, and thermal rocket engines – the company will have to develop a propulsion system notoriously more complex than current launcher or plane systems, and therefore being a strong departure from the current state of the art. Additionally, all propulsive devices will have to be highly reusable.
We are also developing a system to evacuate aero-thermal energy from the surface using hydrogen. This system will recycle the energy from the cooling of the structure to improve propulsion efficiency, maintain structural integrity, enable high reusability, and consequently reduce the vehicle weight.
Follow our journey into the future of hypersonic air freight mobility!