You Won’t See It-Or HEAR It, NASA Working on ‘Sonic Boomless’ Airplane
While numerous companies are working on sending their own aircraft into space, or developing sonic jets for around the world transport, NASA is working on the same...but theirs won't make a sound.
NASA has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to build what's being called the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator aircraft. Hopes are it will be airborne by 2022.
The contract calls for development of technology that will not only provide speed (Mach 1.5) but silence. Officials say if the design ideas work in real life as well as on computers and paper, the loudest sound this plane would make when it breaks the sound barrier would the equivalent of a car door closing.
Sonic boom, the loud thunder when a plane exceeds 660 plus mph, is a large concern for builders of such aircraft. Sonic booms, even if not up close, can damage windows, scare wildlife and cause concern to people on the ground.
Space.com says before supersonic planes are allowed to fly over the Continental U.S. they have to prove they don't emit that loud noise.This NASA project will be about 94 feet long, it won't be a commercial aircraft, but assuming it works, it will be adapted to carry passengers. Such technology could cut coast to coast flights in half.
Currently, U.S. airliners have to travel just below the sound barrier, in order to prevent such booms.