NASA Has Started Building 'Son Of Concorde' Supersonic Jet
Lockheed Martin has begun work on a 'son of Concorde' plane, the Daily Mail reports.
Lockheed Martin has said the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft - which is being built with NASA - 'marks a milestone to bring supersonic commercial travel over land one step closer to reality'.
Peter Iosifidis, Low Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, said: "The start of manufacturing on the project marks a great leap forward for the X-59 and the future of quiet supersonic commercial travel."
He continued: "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."
NASA chose Lockheed Martin earlier to design, build and test the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator earlier this year, with the hope that quiet sonic booms would mean the aircraft could go supersonic over land.
The X-59, which won't conduct its first flight until 2021, will be used to test the acceptability of the quiet sonic boom generated by the aircraft - which, in turn, could let NASA work out the acceptable commercial supersonic noise levels to help overturn current bans on supersonic travel over land.
The craft (dubbed 'Son of Concorde' by aviation fans) has been designed to cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of around 940mph.
Instead of a sonic boom, it will create a sound that's 'no louder than the clunk of a car door closing' - 75 Perceived Level Decibel.
Concordes were used from 1976 until 2003, eventually grinding to a halt due to the cost of running, a 2000 crash, the increased threat of terrorism after the 11 September attack in New York and the noise of loud sonic booms in residential regions.
Sasha Ellis, a NASA spokesperson for the X-59 mission, told Newsweek: "We're solely focused on addressing the challenges of quiet supersonic flights over land, reducing that sonic boom to a sonic thump."
Tests will take place in Texas this month to gauge public reaction to the quieter supersonic 'thumps'.
"The result in that area: a pair of quiet sonic booms - soft thumps, really - which people on the ground, including those Nasa researchers and resident volunteers, might barely notice, if they hear anything at all," NASA explained in a statement.
Featured Image Credit: Lockheed Martin