Australia Joins The Race For Supersonic Flight

A Ukrainian-Australian joint venture is eyeing supersonic passenger flights across the Pacific. A low-profile Australian company with space and supersonic aspirations has teamed with a Ukrainian engine designer and jet engine manufacturer to push the boundaries of commercial passenger flights.

Cosmovision wants to take on the likes of Aerion’s AS2 (pictured) supersonic passenger planes. Photo: Aerion

Cosmovision eyes supersonic trans-Pacific flights by mid-decade

According to a report in Australian Aviation on Monday, May 4, Cosmovision Global Corporation, a business registered in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, is joining forces with Zaporizhzhia (Ukraine) based aircraft engine design business SE Ivchenko-Progress and engine manufacturer JSC Motor Sich to develop a supersonic passenger jet.

The three parties have signed an MOU. Cosmovision CEO, Sydney-based Ilya Osadchuk, is now busy trying to raise the money to kickstart the project. What’s the connection between a low-profile company in Sydney and the two Ukrainian businesses?  Ilya Osadchuk is a dual Ukrainian-Australian citizen who moved to Australia 25 years ago.

“This unique and ground-breaking project which will enable rapid travel from down under to northern hemisphere countries and continents in times never achieved before by passenger jetliners,” Mr Osadchuk told Australian Aviation.

Cosmovision is planning a 100-seat passenger plane that could jet from Sydney to Los Angeles in six hours. Ilya Osadchuk would like to see flights happening by 2025. If he pulls that off, he’ll make Qantas’ future ultra-long-range Project Sunrise flights look very last century.

Could Cosmovision’s supersonic flights give Project Sunrise a run for its money? Photo: Qantas

Cosmovision joins a crowded market developing supersonic passenger planes

Motor Sich says it is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial gas turbine installations and aircraft and helicopter engines. SE Ivchenko Progress is in the business of designing and developing engines for commercial and defense customers. The business says their engines power 66 types of aircraft and their modifications across more than 100 countries.

Cosmovision is not the first company to eye supersonic passenger flights. Simple Flying has covered developments in this field, including projects underway at businesses such as Boom Supersonic, Spike, Aerion, and Exosonic. Besides location, what sets these businesses apart from Cosmovision is the funding and collective brainpower fuelling the predominately United States-based supersonic plane developers.

While cross-ocean supersonic flights sound like a great idea, they face formidable hurdles. The costs of developing a supersonic plane and getting it in the air are enormous. Then there are the regulatory hurdles to overcome.

Once in the air, fares have to be affordable. There’s normally a fair bit of demand for premium travel across the Pacific. Conventional airlines typically have no problems filling their most expensive trans-Pacific seats. But pitch the price too high, and supersonic travel will only ever be a niche business, like private jet travel. And with a 100-seat jet to fill, Mr Osadchuk cannot go niche.

Supersonic passenger planes face significant hurdles before taking their first passengers. Photo: Boom Supersonic

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Better luck with a supersonic jet than with a spaceport?

Cosmovision has been around for a while, at least on paper. Mr Osadchuk has been running the business since 2003. Cosmovision also has a longstanding interest in developing a spaceport in far north Queensland.

That idea has been kicking around forever. Over the years, various players have praised the site’s near-equatorial location and other geostrategic benefits. But the potential spaceport site is also extremely isolated with a rich biosphere and is of significant historical importance to Australia’s indigenous peoples.

Before the first truckload of concrete gets carted in, it will take several lifetimes to get development approval for the site. In the past 25 years, the Cape York spaceport proposal has gone nowhere.

One can only hope Mr Osadchuk and his partners in Ukraine have better luck with the supersonic passenger jet.