Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Lockheed Martin to Build NASA's New Quiet XPlane

NASA orders a supersonic X-Plane, easy on the boom Lockheed Martin wins NASA Contract worth nearly $250 Million
Lindsey Cook | 05 April, 2018, 01:39

NASA signed a contract with Lockheed Martin to design the plane in 2016 and now it's ready to proceed with construction of supersonic jet. Before any supersonic planes will be allowed to fly over land, NASA and Lockheed Martin must prove that it's possible to break the sound barrier without the sonic boom.

The X-plane will be built at Lockheed Martin in Palmdale, California.

"The key to success for this mission - known as the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator - will be to demonstrate the ability to fly supersonic, yet generate sonic booms so quiet, people on the ground will hardly notice them, if they hear them at all", NASA said in an April 3 announcement.

The first supersonic commercial airline Concorde that began service in 1976, built by a French-British coalition and flown by Air France and British Airways, was discontinued in 2003 in part because noise complaints limited its flights. The company created a preliminary design under a previous contract.

"It is super exciting to be back designing and flying X-planes at this scale", Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA, said, referencing the series of supersonic research planes produced by Bell Aircraft starting in the mid-1940s.

NASA will then send out the "clinically gathered human reaction" information to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) "so they can utilize the information to alter the existing guideline that entirely prohibits civil supersonic flights over land", Shin stated. The rest of the airplane is "off-the-shelf" technology, he said, and will require no new development.

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But passengers will not be able to board the supersonic jet just yet.

After receiving the plane from Lockheed Martin in late 2021, NASA plans to conduct a series of flights over certain US cities to get community feedback on the sound, according to The Times.

On the inside, the X-plane will have a single General Electric F414 engine, which is "the powerplant used by F/A-18E/F fighter jets".

It will produce an equivalent of about 75 decibels of perceived noise levels.NASA plans to fly its new X-plane over a number of American cities.

With any luck, we may see the next generation of supersonic commercial aircraft flying passengers and cargo all over the continental United States shortly after 2021.

The precise speed varies depending on conditions, but 940 miles per hour is well over 100 miles per hour faster than the sound barrier.

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