70 years ago in 1947, captain charles ‘chuck’ yeager become the first pilot to fly faster that the speed of sound, using the bell x-1 airplanecome 2017, NASA are busy working with lockheed martin to design a supersonic passenger jet, opening up the possibility of super high-speed travel up to the flying public. to make their plane suitable for commercial use, NASA set out to avoid–or at least minimize–the ‘supersonic boom’ that occurs when a plane flies faster than sound. instead, NASA want for passengers to only experience a soft ‘thump,’ dubbed by their engineers as a ‘supersonic heartbeat.’ the space exploration company has now reached a major breakthrough in making their plane a reality, completing the initial design review of the craft. 

NASA finalizes the preliminary design for its supersonic X plane
NASA has finalized the design for a plane that flies faster than sound without the supersonic boom
all images courtesy of NASA



the initial design process of the plane goes by the name of QueSST, standing for ‘quiet supersonic transport.’ NASA’s partners, lockheed martin, have been working to create a preliminary design. this week, the design has been approved by senior experts and engineers from across the agency as capable of fulfilling the airplane’s mission objectives, which are to fly at supersonic speeds, but create a soft thud instead of the disruptive sonic boom associated with air supersonic travel today.

NASA finalizes the preliminary design for its supersonic X plane
NASA has partnered with lockheed martin to design the plane



the idea is for the LBFD X-plane to be flown over communities to collect data necessary for regulators to enable supersonic flight over land in the US, and elsewhere in the world. an 8 X 6 ft model of the plane has already been tested in a supersonic wind tunntel at NASA’s research center in cleveland. over the next months, further tests will be performed on the craft, including a static inlet performance test and a low-speed wind tunnel test. NASA’s goal is to get the full-scale piloted plane flying by 2021.NASA finalizes the preliminary design for its supersonic X plane
the preliminary design for NASA’s supersonic plane has been approved as being able to complete its objectives



david richwine, manager for the preliminary design effort under NASA’s commercial supersonic technology explains that ‘managing a project like this is all about moving from one milestone to the next. our strong partnership with lockheed martin helped get us to this point. we’re now one step closer to building an actual X-plane.’

NASA finalizes the preliminary design for its supersonic X plane
NASA aims to get the supersonic plane in the air by 2o21