NASA Backs Lockheed Martin Design for a Supersonic X-plane

05 April, 2018, 01:44 | Author: Kathy Ellis
  • NASA Hires Lockheed Martin to Build Quiet Supersonic X-Plane

It will fly at a cruising altitude of about 55,000 feet (17,000 meters) and reach a speed of 1.4 times the speed of sound (about 1,000 miles per hour, or 1,600 km/h).

NASA will have to prove that it is possible to break the sound barrier without the sonic boom before any supersonic planes are allowed to fly over land.

This week NASA awarded a almost quater-billion-dollar contract to Lockheed Martin this week to build a quiet supersonic experimental aircraft. The new experimental plane is created to return supersonic passenger air travel to routes over land.

Lockheed Martin will build the aircraft for $247.5 million.

" When the guideline is altered, the door will open to an air travel market all set to go into [a] brand-new supersonic market in our nation and worldwide", Shin stated.

Today, the agency announced their decision to award a development contract to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LMAC).

"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.

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The Federal Aviation Administration now does not allow supersonic flights over land, because of the environmental effects of flying at speeds quicker than sound.

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The Federal Aviation Administration has had a long-standing ban on supersonic flight by commercial aircraft over land.

The answer to how the X-plane's design makes a quiet sonic boom is in the way its uniquely-shaped hull generates supersonic shockwaves. NASA also hopes to reduce the time it takes to travel.

NASA will fly the aircraft by mid-2022 to gather and relay public feedback on the flights to USA and worldwide regulators in order to draft new supersonic flight rules. Another company, Spike Aerospace, aims to test its S-512 Supersonic Jet by the end of 2018. It was these regulations which severely hampered Concorde's use in the 1970s and 1980s; with no possibility to fly at supersonic speeds over the U.S., the aircraft could not serve routes to the West Coast.

The X-plane serves two purposes.

The agreement is part of a project called QueSST (quiet supersonic technology), which aims to tiresome the volume of a sonic boom to about the level of the auto door closing.

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