BI Chinese Station reported on April 6
NASA may be preparing for a supersonic commercial flight over the continental United States. At present, such activities are illegal. NASA has provided Lockheed Martin with a $247.5 million contract to develop supersonic aircraft.
According to the contract, Lockheed Martin will design and develop the X-plane. This experimental aircraft can achieve supersonic flight without producing sonic booms. Lockheed Martin hopes that the aircraft's "detectable noise level" does not exceed 75 PLdB, which is equivalent to the sound of the door closing.
Lockheed Martin will deliver the aircraft to NASA by the end of 2021. At that time, NASA will conduct tests in major cities in the United States to assess noise reduction capabilities. The data collected in these tests will be submitted to the U.S. and international regulatory authorities, and the regulator will reassess the regulations regarding supersonic flights based on the data.
In recent years, there have been more discussions in the industry about whether supersonic flights should be allowed. Start-up companies like Aerion, Boom Supersonic, and Spike Aerospace are trying. Last December, Lockheed Martin announced a potential partnership with Aerion. Lockheed Martin will determine within the next year whether Aerion will help develop the 12-seat AS2 aircraft. The AS2 will fly at 1.5 times the speed of sound. If this speed is reached, it will only take 4.5 hours to fly from New York to London.
However, Aerion, Boom and Spike are currently focused on international flights. Such flights will take off from the coastal cities of the United States, such as New York and Boston, and will not pass over the continental United States. Lockheed Martin's X-plane will focus on flights over the continental United States.
Since the last flight of the Concorde in 2003, commercial supersonic flights have stopped. Despite crossing the Atlantic in 3 hours, the Concordia failed to recover from the 2000 crash.