Leave it to NASA to get the ball rolling on supersonic travel!
This year we’ve heard about various projects coming down the pipeline for supersonic flights like the Boeing airliners and Boom Supersonic. However, there is now one major difference between all of these concepts—NASA has officially begun their production!
The X-59 QueSST supersonic aircraft will be built in collaboration with Lockheed Martin and has already been referred to as the Son of Concorde. The X-59 will be nearly silent, “designed to reduce a sonic boom to a gentle thump.”
The aircraft will travel at a speed of about 940 mph, at a height of 55,000 feet. At these speeds, travelers can make it from NYC to London in only three hours! Peter Iosifidis, Low Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, says:
“The start of manufacturing on the project marks a great leap forward for the X-59 and the future of quiet supersonic commercial travel. The long, slender design of the aircraft is the key to achieving a low sonic boom. As we enter into the manufacturing phase, the aircraft structure begins to take shape, bringing us one step closer to enabling supersonic travel for passengers around the world.”
The X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft is expected to begin testing flights as early as 2021 in order to collect community data on the “supersonic thump” created by the airliner to help NASA establish a new “supersonic noise standard” for current commercial flight regulations that ban supersonic travel over land. Here’s a look at what Lockheed Martin and NASA are hoping to change about air travel:
If all goes well in changing the current regulations, supersonic commercial flights should begin by 2025.
Featured image source: NASA