Lockheed Martin hired by NASA to Build Quiet Supersonic X-Plane

Illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite in front of a lava planet orbiting its host star. TESS will identify thousands of potential new planets for further study and observation

"We're all pretty excited", said Jim Less, a primary NASA pilots who will fly the X-plane after Lockheed Martin's pilots have completed initial test flights.

This X-plane manned aircraft will be built specifically to embark technologies that reduce supersonic boom noise to a slight boring noise.

NASA says the main factor in making supersonic passenger flight a reality is reducing sonic booms to a level that people on the ground "will hardly notice them, if they hear them at all".

Lockheed Martin will build the aircraft for $247.5 million.

Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager Peter Iosifidis said Lockheed was "honored to continue our partnership with NASA to enable a new generation of supersonic travel". No supersonic commercial aircraft has been in service since British Airways and Air France halted Concorde flights in 2003. Lockheed Martin has a long history of working with NASA and has been part of NASA's QueSST effort since 2016.

Despite Lowe's concern, NASA said its confidence in the X-plane's design was "buoyed" by recent research using wind tunnel testing, advanced computer simulations and flight testing.

The Federal Aviation Administration now does not allow supersonic flights over land, because of the environmental effects of flying at speeds quicker than sound. It'll pass that information along to regulators in the U.S. and overseas to help shape rules governing supersonic flights over land. The rest of the airplane is "off-the-shelf" technology, he said, and will require no new development.

The almost quarter-billion-dollar contract calls for the single-jet plane, capable of cruising at 940 miles per hour, to be delivered to NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California by the end of 2021.

"Our long tradition of solving the technical barriers of supersonic flight to benefit everyone continues", Shin added.

Of course, NASA isn't alone in its quest to revive supersonic air travel.

Do not anticipate to board a supersonic traveler jet anytime quickly; Lockheed Martin's LBFD will not be constructed for transferring individuals. "This X-plane is a critical step closer to that exciting future". It will fly at an altitude of 55,000 feet, cruising at 1,560 km/h.

"Beginning in mid-2022, NASA will fly the X-plane over select U.S. cities and collect data about community responses to the flights", the space agency said.

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