Lockheed Martin wins NASA Contract worth almost $250 Million

08 April, 2018, 01:52 | Author: Becky Perry
  • The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ X-plane design will cruise at 55,000 feet Mach 1.4 and will generate a gentle supersonic heartbeat instead of a sonic boom

Under this contract, Lockheed Martin will Skunk Works will build a full-scale experimental aircraft, known as an X-plane, of its preliminary design developed under NASA's Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) effort.

NASA has awarded Lockheed Martin Skunk Works a $247.5m contract to design, build and flight test a 94ft-long X-plane created to make supersonic passenger air travel a reality.

" This piloted X-plane would be constructed particularly to fly innovations that lower the volume of a sonic boom to that of a mild thump", Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator of NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, stated throughout a press conference today. As it stands, current regulations based on aircraft speeds ban supersonic flights over land.

NASA signed a contract with Lockheed Martin to design the plane in 2016 and now it's ready to proceed with construction of supersonic jet. The 94ft-long airframe has a wingspan of 29.5ft and is created to fly at Mach 1.4, or 940 miles per hour, at an altitude of 55,000 feet.

NASA has given Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to build the unique, single-pilot plane by 2021.

If it's possible to make these X-Planes as quiet as NASA and Lockheed Martin are hoping, then there's the potential for reducing travel times across the United States by a significant amount. It was these regulations which severely hampered Concorde's use in the 1970s and 1980s; with no possibility to fly at supersonic speeds over the U.S., the aircraft could not serve routes to the West Coast.

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The X plane's sound will be as light as that of a auto door closing.

After the plane undergoes flight testing at Edwards, NASA will then begin "community response" tests at both the base and in up to six US cities, slated for completion by 2025.

The bone-rattling boom of supersonic aircraft has severely limited their commercial viability. The experimental plane, or X-plane, is called the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) and will attempt to reduce the sonic boom associated with supersonic flight, according to NASA's press release.

NASA wants to bring supersonic travel back to commercial aviation, and it's turning to Lockheed Martin to help us get there.

They will deliver that dataset to US and worldwide regulators in hopes that new, sound-based rules regarding supersonic flight over land can be written and adopted, which would open the doors to new commercial cargo and passenger markets to provide faster-than-sound air travel. NASA has just awarded a $247.5 million contract to U.S. aerospace firm Lockheed Martin to try to change that.

Craft like the Concorde made headlines over a decade ago, but nothing has yet to really take its place in more updated supersonic jets.

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