Nasa has approved the final assembly of an experimental aircraft having a loud, expensive noise for the future.
Supersonic air travel is something NASA has been working to flawless for some time.
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"X-59 is designed to cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of about 940 miles per hour and create a sound about as loud as a vehicle door closing, 75 Perceived Level decibel, instead of a sonic boom", according to the defense contractor. The X-59 hopes to change the negative reputation of supersonic aircraft with a design that softens the tree and produces little more than a soft "flop". If successful, the craft could one day travel from London to NY in just over three hours, while transcending objections to supersonic air travel over land.
The key feature of the X-59 is the reduction of "sonic boom" into a "sonic thump" when it reaches the ground.
At Lockheed Martin's so-called "Skunk Works" manufacturing facility in California, three important work areas had been put up for the building of the X-59. According to NASA's website, the X-59 will be flown over USA communities to generate data from both sensors and people on the ground. Final assembly and integration of the airplane's systems - including an innovative cockpit eXternal Visibility System - is targeted for late 2020.
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It was the last hurdle in the X-59 development and construction program before it seeks approval for first flight, now scheduled in 2021, which the officials will decide upon when they meet again in late 2020. The decision, known as Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D), was the last hurdle before the QueSST aircraft is cleared to make its first flight in 2021.
"We have everything in place to continue this historic research mission for the nation's air-traveling public".
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