Lockheed Martin wins NASA Contract worth almost $250 Million

05 April, 2018, 01:43 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ X-plane design will cruise at 55,000 feet Mach 1.4 and will generate a gentle supersonic heartbeat instead of a sonic boom

After receiving the finished aircraft sometime in 2021, NASA will conduct a series of test flights to ensure the technology is working as intended. The design research speed of the X-plane at a cruising altitude of 55,000 feet is 1,512 kilometres per hour.

The agency hopes the X-plane's sharp design will send shockwaves away from the aircraft, rather than coalescing at the nose and tail and creating two "distinct and thunderous" booms. Our @NASAAero innovators are creating an experimental aircraft that could make supersonic flight over land possible. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company was selected for the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration contract, a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract valued at $247.5 million.

"We're honored to continue our partnership with NASA to enable a new generation of supersonic travel", said Peter Iosifidis, Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.

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Today, the agency announced their decision to award a development contract to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LMAC).

The age of supersonic commercial flight ended with the last Concorde flight in 2003. The testing is meant to be the first step toward changing worldwide regulations that prohibit supersonic flight over land, and enabling private manufacturers to move forward with the development of supersonic business jets.

The Federal Aviation Administration has had a long-standing ban on supersonic flight by commercial aircraft over land. The design of the airplane is meant to reduce the "sonic boom" to a thump or a double-thump by the time it reaches the ground.

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NASA has broken the mission down into multiple phases with a design review of the low-boom X-plane set for 2019 before final construction, construction to be completed in 2021 and NASA to test the X-plane in 2022. Lockheed in December also agreed to help Aerion build its supersonic jet. "This X-plane is an important action better to that awesome future".

It will be able to cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of about 940 miles per hour, and create a sound that's as loud as a vehicle door closing.

The low-boom flight demonstrator research programme has two goals: to design and build the aircraft, which although large-scale would still be smaller than any aircraft that went into service; and to fly it over selected USA communities to gather data on human responses to the sonic thump.

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