May 20, 2024


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NASA’s supersonic passenger flights are getting closer

NASA’s supersonic passenger flights are getting closer

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Ah, the glory days of travel, when the seats were bigger, the food was better, and you could cross the Atlantic in less than three hours.

Since the end of the Concorde in 2003, high-speed transatlantic flying has been a thing of the past. Flights between London and New York take about eight hours, or about seven hours the other way. The record currently stands at just under five hours from New York to London, powered by a decent jet stream.

But now, the idea of ​​supersonic travel has been mooted again – by NASA, which believes a flight between New York and London could take less than 90 minutes in the future.

The space agency confirmed it blog post On its “high-speed strategy” it recently examined whether commercial flights at speeds of up to Mach 4 — more than 3,000 mph — could take off in the future.

The study, conducted by NASA’s Glenn Research Center, indicated that there are already “potential passenger markets…on approximately 50 identified routes.” These routes have been restricted to transoceanic routes, including across the North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, because countries, including the United States, prohibit supersonic overland flight.

However, NASA is developing a “quiet” supersonic aircraft, called the X-59, as part of the Quesst mission. The agency hopes the new aircraft will eventually lead to an adjustment to these rules, paving the way for planes that fly between Mach 2 and Mach 4 (1,535-3,045 mph). The Concorde’s top speed was Mach 2.04, or 1,354 miles per hour. A plane traveling at Mach 4 could potentially cross the Atlantic Ocean in less than 90 minutes.

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After the studies, NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicle (AAV) program will now move into its next research phase for high-speed travel, contracting with companies to develop designs and “explore the possibilities of air travel, identify risks and challenges, and identify technologies needed to achieve Mach 2 speed.” The agency said: – In addition to traveling, it’s a fact. There will be two teams working on the research: one headed by Boeing, the other headed by Northrop Grumman Aeronautical Systems. And each of them will come with designs for aircraft capable of maintaining supersonic speeds.

Studies similar to those now conducted a decade ago shaped the development of the X-59, according to Lori Ozoroski, project manager for NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project. In the same way, she added, the new studies will “refresh those insights into technology roadmaps and identify additional research needs for broader high-speed bandwidth.”

The next phase will also take into account “safety, efficiency, economic and societal considerations,” said Mary Jo Long Davis, NASA’s hypersonic project manager, adding that “it’s important to innovate responsibly.”

In July, Lockheed Martin Complete the build NASA’s X-59 test aircraft, which was designed for Transform sonic booms into mere beatsIn hopes of making supersonic ground flight possible. Ground tests and the first test flight are scheduled for later this year. NASA aims to have enough data to turn it over to US regulators in 2027.