NASA to build 'experimental' supersonic X-plane without sonic boom

05 April, 2018, 01:39 | Author: Luis Fowler
  • NASA orders a supersonic X-Plane, easy on the boom

Nasa and Lockheed Martin are seeking to foster technology that can overcome noise restrictions on supersonic flight, which has been banned overland for civil aircraft since 1973.

Jock Lowe, who flew the iconic aircraft for British Airways, made the comments to Professional Engineering after the U.S. space agency awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5m contract to build a new experimental "X-plane".

The experimental aircraft is expected to take to the skies in 2021 and will have a top velocity of 1.5 times the speed of sound, or about 990 miles per hour (1,600 kilometers) at an altitude of 55,000 feet, Lockheed said in a statement.

NASA and Lockheed Martin are taking concrete steps toward the creation of jets that travel faster than the speed of sound but are "about as loud as a vehicle door closing".

The U.S. government has outlawed commercial aircraft from flying over land at supersonic speeds, which is anything over Mach 1 (768 MPH), since 1973.

Lockheed Martin will build the aircraft for $247.5 million.

In this Low-Boom Flight Demonstration contract, Lockheed Martin is obliged to completing the design and fabrication of an experimental aircraft, known as an X-plane.

"It is super exciting to be back designing and flying X-planes at this scale", said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

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They're working to make a supersonic flight over land possible.

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. The rest of the airplane is "off-the-shelf" technology, he said, and will require no new development.

Last summer, NASA researchers used the range over Cape Canaveral to conduct sonic boom testing, much to the dismay of local residents who sometimes heard up to 11 sonic booms a day.

Meanwhile Spike Aerospace is hoping to test its S-512 Supersonic Jet by the close of this year.

The X plane's sound will be as light as that of a vehicle door closing.

It will be able to cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of about 940 miles per hour, and create a sound that's as loud as a vehicle door closing.

"Thanks to their work so far and the work to come, we will be able to use this X-plane to generate the scientifically collected community response data critical to changing the current rules to transforming aviation".

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