Virgin Galactic unveils supersonic jet design

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Virgin Galactic this week unveiled the design of its supersonic jet, which it promises will “open up a new frontier in high-speed travel.” (Virgin Galactic)
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Virgin Galactic this week unveiled the design of its supersonic jet, which it promises will “open up a new frontier in high-speed travel.” (Virgin Galactic)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Virgin Galactic unveils supersonic jet design

  • The aircraft is capable of carrying 19 passengers while traveling at three times the speed of sound at altitudes of up to 60,000 feet

LONDON: Virgin Galactic this week unveiled the design of its supersonic jet, which it promises will “open up a new frontier in high-speed travel.”

The aircraft, capable of carrying 19 passengers while traveling at three times the speed of sound at altitudes of up to 60,000 feet, will be designed and developed in partnership with Rolls-Royce.

“We are excited to complete the Mission Concept Review and unveil this initial design concept of a high-speed aircraft, which we envision as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivaled customer experience,” said George Whitesides, chief space officer at Virgin Galactic.

“We are pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce as we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for the aircraft, and we are pleased to be working with the FAA to ensure our designs can make a practical impact from the start.

“We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high-speed travel,” he added.

Richard Branson, the company’s founder, could travel into space as the first passenger as early as next year, Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

The spaceflight venture has repeatedly pushed back the date it will take the first tourists outside Earth’s atmosphere and said 600 people have already paid $250,000 to reserve a seat.

Virgin Galactic said on Monday it “expects to advance to the next phase of its test flight program” in the autumn, with two manned flights.

“Assuming both flights demonstrate the expected results, Virgin Galactic anticipates Sir Richard Branson’s flight to occur in the first quarter of 2021,” the company said.

The groundbreaking flight by Branson would pave the way for future commercial space journeys, Virgin Galactic said.


French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

Updated 20 September 2020

French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

DUBAI:Up-and-coming French-Tunisian singer, model and actor Sonia Ben Ammar has joined the cast of “Scream 5,”  it’s been revealed this week.

 According to Variety, production on Spyglass Media and Paramount Pictures’ upcoming relaunch of the  famous horror film franchise is set to begin later this month.

Filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who are behind “Ready or Not,” are directing the forthcoming film.

The first “Scream” film was released in 1996, well before Ben Ammar was even born.  A smash hit upon its debut, the movie helped to revive the horror genre, becoming the highest-grossing slasher movie of all-time. 

This will be Paris-born Ammar’s first high-profile Hollywood gig as an actress. She along with other young franchise newcomers will be joining returning cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who are all reprising their iconic roles as Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott.

Plot details for the new film, set to debut in theaters on Jan. 14, 2022, are still under wraps,  so it is not yet known what role the French-Arab star will be taking on.

“I’m SCREAMing of excitement!! (sic)” wrote the 21-year-old on Instagram, announcing the news to her 730,000 social media followers. “Incredibly grateful to be part of one of my favorite franchises. 2nd photo is my face when I got the call lol (sic),” she captioned a screenshot of Variety’s article announcing the news and a blurry snap of her clearly overjoyed. 

However, it’s not the multi-hyphenate model’s first foray into the film industry.

Ben Ammar, who is the daughter of Tunisian film director Tarek Ben Ammar and actress Beata, previously starred in Guillaume Canet’s French-language film “Jappeloup” as well as the stage musical “1789: Les Amants de la Bastille.”

She’s also appeared in several music videos, including “Drivin’ Thru the Night” by DJ Petit Biscuit, as well as clips for her own singles, such as “Joyride” from her debut EP.

In addition to music, Ben Ammar is also a rising model, and has worked for many major brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Carolina Herrera and Chanel, among other prestigious fashion houses.