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NASA Eyes ‘Quiet’ Supersonic X-Plane Demonstration in 2020

QueSSTNASA aims to build a supersonic aircraft that can generate a thump-like sound rather than a boom and begin flight tests of that technology by 2020.

The agency said Friday it also seeks to demonstrate what it calls a “three-legged stool” of aviation research through the Quiet Supersonic Transport X-plane development project.

An industry team led by Lockheed Martin was awarded the preliminary QueSST design contract in late February as part of NASA’s New Aviation Horizons initiative.

NASA launched the program to create and fly multiple X-planes over the next decade in a move to help aviation companies accelerate their adoption of green technologies.

“If we can build some of these X-planes and demonstrate some of these technologies, we expect that will make it much easier and faster for U.S. industry to pick them up and roll them out into the marketplace,” noted Ed Waggoner, integrated aviation systems program director at NASA.

The agency also seeks to provide QueSST flight data to the Federal Aviation Administration and its foreign counterparts so they can use the information to establish noise-related policies for commercial supersonic airliners.

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