NASA Begins Work on Quieter Supersonic Passenger Jet
The return of supersonic passenger travel is one step closer to reality with NASA's award of a contract for the preliminary design of a low boom flight demonstrator aircraft. This is the first in a series of X-planes in NASA's New Aviation Horizons initiative, introduced in the agency's Fiscal Year 2017 budget. NASA selected a team led by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company to complete a preliminary design for Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST). The work will be conducted under a task order against the Basic and Applied Aerospace Research and Technology (BAART) contract at NASA's Langley Research Center. After conducting feasibility studies and working to better understand acceptable sound levels across the country, NASA's Commercial Supersonic Technology Project asked industry teams to submit design concepts for a piloted test aircraft that can fly at supersonic speeds, creating a supersonic 'heartbeat' - a soft thump rather than the disruptive boom currently associated with supersonic flight.