APR 03, 2018 05:10 PM PDT

NASA Teams Up With Lockheed Martin to Design a Low-Boom X-Plane

While NASA has a reputation for its role in astronomy and space research, the agency has a lot more going on behind the scenes than one might think. One example is a long-standing ambition to produce aircraft with futuristic designs; these are more colloquially known as X-Planes.

One of NASA’s modern X-Plane concepts envisages a low-boom supersonic jet. In other words, the aircraft would surpass the speed of sound without generating the ground-rattling sonic boom that people below might find discomforting.

An artist's impression of NASA's low-boom X-Plane flying over a typical town.

Image Credit: NASA

The aircraft wouldn’t be entirely silent, but the intensity of the sound would be slashed significantly through aerodynamic hacks. Citing an official NASA statement, the sound would be as subtle as a car door closing. That said, the initiative is a push to make jets of this nature just a little bit friendlier to the general public.

Related: NASA makes progress on its low-boom aircraft design

As good as these plans might sound on paper, NASA hasn’t made them materialize yet. On the other hand, the American space agency signed a $247.5 Million deal with prominent aerospace company Lockheed Martin this week that could make it happen in as little as four years.

NASA and Lockheed Martin strive to build a sample aircraft dubbed the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD) by the year 2022. Once completed, it would fly 55,000 feet above select cities in the United States at speeds of around 940 MPH, and NASA would then poll residents below concerning the experience to discern whether the venture was successful or not.

Assuming everything goes well, then the work that goes into the LBFD could go on to influence future commercial aircraft designs, potentially transforming the commercial airliner industry for the better.

It ought to be interesting to see what Lockheed Martin comes up with as it begins work on the project.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 18, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 18, 2018
Blue Origin's Ninth Test Launch Yields Spectacular Results
On Wednesday, commercial space company Blue Origin performed an “extreme” test launch of its New Shepard rocket and crew capsule system. Image...
AUG 08, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 08, 2018
Here's Why NASA is Sending a Probe to the Sun
An upcoming NASA probe will fly closer to the Sun than any before it. Known as the Parker Solar Probe, this spacecraft will study the Sun and many of its q...
AUG 20, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 20, 2018
Martian Dust Storm Begins Clearing, Sparking Hope for the Opportunity Rover
Back in June, Mars became enveloped by a planet-wide dust storm. The dust from the storm blocked so much sunlight that NASA felt compelled to put its solar...
AUG 28, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 28, 2018
Mars Has Huge Mountains, But How Did it Get Them?
Mount Everest, which sports a height of approximately 29,000 feet, is the tallest mountain on Earth. But if you were to venture to Mars, you’d find s...
SEP 09, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 09, 2018
The End of NASA's Dawn Mission is Rapidly Approaching
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft ventured away from Earth to study other bodies in the Solar System 11 years ago; that’s three years longer than anyone e...
SEP 18, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 18, 2018
Were There Originally Three Magellanic Clouds?
Astronomers recognize the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds as some of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way, but could there have been a third Magellanic...
Loading Comments...