NASA chooses Lockheed Martin to build quieter supersonic aircraft

Sunday, 08 Apr, 2018

The earlier supersonic airliner Concorde was retired in 2003 because of high maintenance costs and irritating sonic boom.

According to Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, the plane will start flying over populated areas in 2022.

The LBFD aircraft will be 94 feet (29 meters) long, or about the size of a small business jet. Aeronautics segment is engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, sustainment, support and upgrade of military aircraft, including combat and air mobility aircraft, unmanned air vehicles and related technologies.

Now, NASA, having given it some thought, has ordered a new airframe that could reduce the noise levels down to those of standard street traffic.

NASA has been investigating supersonic aviation for years, focusing especially on combating the impact of the sonic boom. "I'm trying not to use the word sonic boom", Peter Coen, project manager for NASA's Commercial Supersonics Technology Project, tells Mashable's Mark Kaufman.

"The idea is that there is no way to avoid a shock wave supersonically".

The former pilot said he was unconvinced that the X-plane's primary sonic booms will be quieter than Concorde's troublesome secondary booms.

NASA said it expects to receive the X-Plane from Lockheed Martin by late 2021.

Lockheed Martin has already designed much of the sleek plane.

While the federal budget was thought to include cuts for NASA, President Donald Trump recently signed a budget that does allow for the creation of the supersonic X-Plane.

Once it has passed all the requirements set, the X-plane will be flown over select cities and data will be collected from communities and responses taken from everyday people about the flight.

"It's pretty rare in a test pilot's career that he can be involved in everything from the design phase to the flight phase, and really the whole life of the program", Less said. "It will be representative of populations that will be exposed to these sounds".

U.S. space agency NASA has started to create a supersonic manned aircraft that may cause no eardrum-battering sonic boom.

Lockheed plans to conduct the first test flight in 2021.

NASA is not the only organization looking at supersonic flight. But once NASA gets feedback from the public, this information can be used to not just advise plane manufacturers in the US of how to build low-boom planes, but engineers all over the world.

We're one step closer to faster, quieter flights.