NASA green-lights supersonic passenger plane project
February 29, 2016
By David Szondy
NASA is moving ahead with its new X-planes program by awarding its first contract to design a prototype "low-boom" supersonic passenger jet. At a ceremony today at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced that a team led by Lockheed Martin will develop the preliminary designs for a demonstration aircraft.
Part of NASA's New Aviation Horizons initiative launched in February, the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) project includes Lockheed, and subcontractors GE Aviation and Tri Models Inc.
The purpose of the US$20 million contract is to take feasibility studies recently conducted by NASA into a revival of civilian supersonic aviation and build on it to create preliminary designs for a manned demonstrator aircraft that would use new fuselage, wing, and engine designs to create a supersonic "heart beat" or soft thump rather than the window-cracking booms of present supersonic airplanes.
..."Developing, building, and flight testing a quiet supersonic X-plane is the next logical step in our path to enabling the industry's decision to open supersonic travel for the flying public," said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission.
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