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Science & Technology

Lockheed begins work on new supersonic plane

By T.K. Randall
November 17, 2018 · Comment icon 8 comments

The new jet will certainly look the part. Image Credit: NASA
The futuristic X-59 will be able to travel at supersonic speeds without producing a deafening sonic boom.
Concorde, the British-French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet airliner that was discontinued in 2003, got a lot of things right, however the deafening sonic booms produced by these aircraft were so disruptive that civilian supersonic flights ended up being banned in the US and Europe entirely.

Now aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has officially started work on a brand new type of supersonic aircraft that gets around this problem thanks to technology recently developed by NASA.

The ultimate goal will be to build a new line of 'quiet' commercial supersonic passenger planes which offer all of the advantages of Concorde but none of the drawbacks.
The first test flight of the prototype is set to take place within the next three years.

It will be capable of cruising at an altitude of 55,000ft at speeds of up to 940 miles per hour.

"The start of manufacturing on the project marks a great leap forward for the X-59 and the future of quiet supersonic commercial travel," said program manager Peter Iosifidis.

"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."

Source: AOL News | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by and then 6 years ago
Speaking as a trans-Atlantic flyer on a few occasions, THIS would be a very welcome addition to the options.  3 hours beats 10-11 any day...
Comment icon #2 Posted by Jenn8779 6 years ago
I worked for these folks for many years. They always have something cool in R&D
Comment icon #3 Posted by L.A.T.1961 6 years ago
An earlier version from the mid 50's.  
Comment icon #4 Posted by and then 6 years ago
My daughter is hoping for an interview with them soon.  She finishes an engineering degree next year and apparently, defense contractors are the main source of work for her specialty.  If she gets an offer, I pray it will land her in Texas and not Cali  
Comment icon #5 Posted by and then 6 years ago
The father of the Dambusters mission!  Brilliant man...
Comment icon #6 Posted by Jon the frog 6 years ago
X-59 Remember me of the Douglas X-3 Stiletto...
Comment icon #7 Posted by AllPossible 6 years ago
Imagine being the pilot travelling nearly 1K miles per hour at 55K feet with hundreds of passengers... Much respect to them because that would be very intense. Most people really can't understand that at that speed your veryy vulnerable to anything.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Ozymandias 6 years ago
The sonic boom issue, age and its outmoded analog control sytems saw Concorde into retirement but the real obstacle to development of supersonic flight is that it has no commercial viability when pitched against conventional aircraft. One issue with Concorde was its pencil slim fuselage which limited the number of paying passengers and creature comforts on board. Increasing the size of the fuselage comes with enormously prohibitive running costs, not to speak of the engineering problems involved.  Commercial airlines can make more money transporting people via subsonic aircraft. 

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