NASA says it will build a quieter supersonic passenger jet   Leave a comment


(CNN)The age of supersonic jet travel may be a tiny bit closer to making a comeback.

NASA announced Monday it has awarded a $20 million contract to Lockheed Martin to develop a preliminary design for a quiet demonstration passenger aircraft designed to fly faster than the speed of sound.

The piloted test aircraft would use so-called Quiet Supersonic Technology, or QueSST, to create a supersonic “heartbeat,” a kind of soft thump instead of the annoying sonic booms usually associated with supersonic planes.

The planes are aimed at making “flight greener, safer and quieter — all while developing aircraft that travel faster, and building an aviation system that operates more efficiently,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden during the official announcement Monday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

Sonic booms come from shock waves created as supersonic planes cut through the air. The waves cause sudden air pressure changes, which trigger booming sounds that can be heard for miles.

Last January, sonic booms from new U.S. Navy F-35C fighter jets being tested offshore rattled residents along the U.S. East Coast. Reaction to the booms lit up Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

NASA is calling its quieter sonic boom design “low boom” technology. The agency has been working with engineers from Lockheed’s legendary Skunk Works aviation facility in Palmdale, California, birthplace of iconic aircraft designs such as the U.S. Air Force SR-71 Blackbird surveillance plane and the F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack aircraft. Together NASA and Lockheed have been learning how to “tune” or “shape” a plane’s sonic boom “signature” through its design.


Posted March 1, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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