NASA Hires Lockheed Martin to Build Quiet Supersonic X-Plane

NASA Hires Lockheed Martin to Build Quiet Supersonic X-Plane

Immediately after the completion of those phases in September 2022, Coen said, NASA plans to conduct its first public-response test campaign over a community in the southwest United States that, unlike Armstrong, is not routinely exposed to sonic booms.

The California-based company has been tasked with developing a "Low Boom Flight Demonstrator", (LBFD) an experimental aircraft that could achieve near-silent supersonic travel.

Nasa is looking to foster technology that can overcome noise restrictions on supersonic flight, which has been banned overland for commercial planes since 1973. The new experimental plane is created to return supersonic passenger air travel to routes over land.

The LBFD is new technology for the testing of quiet supersonic flight, which could lead to changes that would allow for supersonic flight over land.

While NASA's interests aren't necessarily towards decreasing flight times for the average traveler (at least at his point in time) it's true that a successful supersonic X-plane would open up new options for travel that were previously inaccessible due to the incredibly loud sonic boom experienced when an aircraft breaks the speed of sound.

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Lockheed Martin has agreed to develop an experimental plane which will cruise 55,000 feet and reach speeds of about 940 miles per hour. The sound it generates, NASA says, should be at 75 perceived-level decibels, or "about as loud as a auto door closing".

This aircraft has been in the works for while before Tuesday's announcement.

The next step is a "delta" preliminary design review in July, leading to a critical design review in September 2019.

Today, the agency announced their decision to award a development contract to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LMAC). After Lockheed Martin finishes its work, including flight tests, NASA expects to begin flying the demonstrator aircraft over unspecified United States cities beginning in mid-2022, at which time it will collect data about "community responses" to the X-Plane's flights. That information will then be provided to the FAA and global regulators, to allow new rules for supersonic flight over land.