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NASA seeks to build a quieter supersonic plane for passenger flight
July 30, 2017, 3:56 pm

The US National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) has designed a supersonic plane that will reduce its noise to well below that of the ill-fated Concorde and will help cut flight times for international travelers.

Starting in August, NASA will seek bids from aircraft manufacturers to bring their design to life with a full-scale mode, with a budget of nearly $400 million from the space agency to commit to the project over the next five years.

The plan is to create a commercially viable aircraft that can help address the growing demand for high-speed air transit, which is encouraged by trends like distributed workforces and international corporate conglomerates. It is something that NASA hopes to eventually share with airplane OEMs, including Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing and even smaller startups already working on addressing the same market, including Colorado’s Boom Supersonic.

Earlier this year, the CEO of Boom Blake Scholl confirmed that one of their challenges coming to market would be reducing the noise of the engine used in their final plane, which is partly responsible for regulations that prevented supersonic flights such as by that of the British Concorde over land in the US.

NASA’s design was made in part by Lockheed and it is targeting sound levels equivalent to what you would hear while driving a luxury car on the highway, or around 60 to 65 decibels, compared to the Concorde’s 90 decibels.

Ultimately, NASA hopes the contract will result in live vehicle tests over populated communities by 2022. Boom hopes to test fly their own demonstration craft starting sometime next year, so now it looks like there will be some spirited competition in this long-dormant area of transportation tech over the next decade.







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