NASA has employed Lockheed Martin to develop a supersonic passenger jet, which can quietly pause the sound barrier. There has not been a supersonic plane available in commercial service after the retreat of Concorde in 2003. 

NASA announced on Tuesday that it has granted a $247.5 million contract to American aerospace company Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to develop a quieter supersonic aircraft referred as the “X-Plane.” The contract that runs until 2021 enables for the design, building, and testing of the passenger plane prototype, which lessens a sonic boom to a gentle thump. 

The trial plane will cruise at approximately 17,000 meters at a speed of at least 940 miles per hour and make a sound as loud as vehicle door closing, 75PLdB, rather than a sonic boom. The exact speed differs depending on conditions; however, 940 mph is well over 100 mph much faster than the sound barrier. 

According to the Associate Administrator of Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate of NASA, Jaiwon Shin, they are very thrilled to be back developing and flying X-planes on this scale. He also added that the X-Plane is a crucial step closer to the thrilling future. 

Lockheed Martin was initially contracted to plan the X-Plane for NASA last 2016. Construction of the plane will occur at the Lockheed Martin Skunk facility located in Palmdale, California where the SR-71 and U-2 Blackbird spy planes were constructed. 

However, the passenger seats aren’t yet part of the project. The firm should first provide it is possible to fly a quite supersonic vehicle. Then, the Federal Aviation Administration of the US would have to modify rules in order to permit for supersonic flights over land. The company anticipated performing the initial X-Plane flight in 2021. By the middle of 2022, the NASA said it considers to fly the X-plane over a few US cities and gather data in terms of community responses to the flights. 

 A few aerospace companies, including Boom Supersonic, Spike Aerospace, and Virgin Galactic are also working on bringing back their supersonic transport. Supersonic aircraft haven’t been utilized since Concorde, which is a British-French turbojet. It was retired in 2003 after twenty-seven years in service. In 2000, a lot of people were killed when an Air France Concorde flight on the way to NY crashed in Gonesse, France after takeoff from an airport in Paris.