The Destinus Hydrogen Turbine, Maglev Aero and MatrixSpace herald new Robotics Era

Robb posted that an unmanned Destinus Jungfrau hypersonic test engine prototype recently flew at an airport near Munich, Germany and successfully lit up hydrogen-powered afterburners. It did several flights around the airport, reaching speeds of about 155 mph. Although much slower than the 3,000-mph threshold for hypersonic flight, Destinus CEO Mikhail Kokorich said the experiments “showcased the functionality and efficiency of hydrogen afterburners in real-world conditions …the successful flight with hydrogen afterburners demonstrates the potential for high-performance propulsion systems that are highly efficient and reduce carbon emissions.” At the June 19 – 25, ’23 Paris Air Show Boston, Massachusetts-based Maglev Aero revealed a potentially revolutionary eVTOL propulsion technology that could dramatically reduce noise and increase efficiency of multirotor aircraft. Watch a video of a test flight here.

The MagLev Aero HyperDrive  uses the magnetic levitation suspension principles found in high-speed maglev trains—a magnetic bearing supports a many-bladed turbine rim. This enables high hover lift efficiency and lower blade loading at slower speeds. Rod Randall, MagLev’s board chairman, notes, “This is distributed electric propulsion, but the propulsion is distributed circumferentially around the ring in a highly fault-tolerant manner and enables ultrahigh efficiency and ultralow noise.” 

MatrixSpace recently exhibited its ultra-high bandwidth, low-power advanced radar at the May 2023 Denver Xponential. It reportedly can track objects 2 kilometers out from a flying aircraft while recording heading, velocity, approximate distribution and more. The radar device can operate from ground stations or from mobile robots such as the Boston Dynamics robot dog, and its small size makes it easily portable. Images show an artist’s rendering of the Destinus hypersonic aircraft, the Maglev Aero turbine and MatrixSpace radar.

Our thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, for his assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in the  # 23 – 7 20 June 2023 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN). Thanks, also, to CAPT Julio Gutierrez (USN/Ret) for sourcing the Destinus hypersonic drone story. To be included in his distribution, simply send a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.