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Destinus: the incredible European hypersonal drone project

Destinus: the incredible European hypersonal drone project

He has a keen eye, a baby face, a sharp Russian taste, and boundless ambition. At 45, Mikhail Kokorich, founder of the Destinus’ new business, has set itself a significant challenge: the development of a hydrogen – powered hypertonic cargo drone. The device, called Hyperplane, will be able to reach Mach 15 (over 18,000 km / h). After taking off from the engine of a liquid hydrogen aircraft, it will launch its rocket engine, also powered by hydrogen, to reach the mesosphere, the atmospheric layer located at altitudes between 50 and 90 km, which will allow it to carry cargo. delivery from France. to Australia in less than two hours. “This project will respond to all the current major challenges of aviation, assures the Russian entrepreneur, installed in Europe from 2021 after ten years in the United States. Environmental protection, with zero CO2 emissions in flight; speed; and autonomy, the drone is 100% autonomous. “

Founded in March 2021 in Switzerland, based in Munich, Madrid and Toulouse, Destinus wasted no time. From September, the boot release of its first prototype in the suburbs of Munich: Jungfraucar size vehicle. In February 2022, Destinus completed an initial fundraising of $ 29 million with North American, European, Asian and South American investors (Conny & Co, Quiet Capital, One Way Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, Cathexis Ventures, ACE & Company). The valuation had already reached $ 100 million, just eleven months after the company was founded. The workforce was also successful: the group went from 0 to 70 employees in one year. It targets one hundred employees at the end of 2022, and 200 in 2023.

Hypersonal speed in 2023

The start – up is now working on a second prototype, the size of the bus, which it wants to fly near Huelva, in southern Spain, in the coming months. At the end of the year, this prototype will be equipped with the hydrogen engine that Destinus is developing in – house. The start-up firm wants its drone to reach a hypersonal speed (greater than Mach 5) by 2023-2024. The objective then is to develop increased size machines, which will be placed on the market every two years: a one tonne payload device is planned for 2025-2026, a 10 tonne machine in 2027-2028 and a 100 tonne hyperplane by 2029. -2030. “We estimate that commercial certification of this type of device will take at least seven years,” says Mikhail Kokorich. But in the meantime, we can do a lot without certification: target drones, reconnaissance missions …. “

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