If you have the slightest interest in aviation then you certainly would have heard about the Concorde. It was the only supersonic passenger jet that flew for a few years before being retired. There hasn’t been one since but NASA is looking to fill that gap. The agency has asked industry teams to submit preliminary design concepts of a “low-boom” passenger jet that can fly at supersonic speeds.
The Commercial Supersonic Technology Project at NASA has asked industry teams to submit their design concepts for a test plane that can hit supersonic speeds. The idea is to create a supersonic “heartbeat,” a soft thump, as opposed to the loud sonic boom that’s currently associated with breaking the sound barrier.
NASA has selected a team headed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to provide a preliminary design for Quiet Supersonic Technology a.k.a (Quesst). It’s the first of “X-planes” that’s a part of NASA’s New Aviation Horizons initiative.
It’s going to provide Lockheed Martin with almost $20 million over the next year and a half for its work on the Quesst design. Lockheed is going to develop the baseline aircraft requirements as well as a preliminary design with specifications and provide supporting documentation for concept planning and formulation.
NASA expects to start flight tests on a scaled-down version of the Quesst aircraft by 2020 though that’s contingent on funding.