NASA unveils X-59 supersonic jet ‘son of Concorde’

NASA unveils X-59 supersonic jet ‘son of Concorde’

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  • January 20, 2024
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New York to London in just three and a half hours soon! The aeronautic officials debuted a new X-59 supersonic aircraft which is capable of flying faster than the speed of sound. The 100-foot-long and 30-foot-wide plane was rolled out by NASA and Lockheed Martin on Friday in Palmdale, California. 

After launching in 1976 and experiencing expensive maintenance as well as a deadly crash in 2000, the Concorde, which had a top speed of 1,350 miles per hour, was retired almost twenty years ago.

Officials stated that its new offspring can reach speeds of 925 miles per hour and cause less of a sonic boom in the communities below due to the advancements in design, shaping, and technologies. 

When planes break the sound barrier — called Mach 1 — a loud and continuous sonic boom is created that can shatter windows on the ground. The US banned civilian aircraft from reaching this speed over land in 1973, Bloomberg reported. 

Pam Melroy, NASA Deputy Administrator said, “The X-59 transcends its role as a mere aircraft; it stands as a symbol of our collective ambition to redefine the future of supersonic travel.”

“This breakthrough really redefines the feasibility of commercial supersonic travel over land. It brings us closer to a future that we can all understand: cutting flight time from New York to Los Angeles in half,” the former commander of the space shuttle added. 

NASA had earlier said that the United Nations and other countries have banned supersonic flights due to its startling booms when such planes exceed the speed of sound, that is, 767 miles per hour. 

Lockheed Martin won a contract in 2018 valued at about $250 million to build a demonstrator plane, which has room for one pilot and is powered by General Electric Co.’s F414 engine, to help overcome this hurdle. 

The aircraft is designed to reach 1.5 times the speed of sound while reducing a sonic boom to a weak thump with its v-shaped wing and elongated nose. The company originally had expected to fly the X-59 in 2021. The overall project, including testing, will cost about $632 million over eight years, NASA said.

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Published: 20 Jan 2024, 09:26 AM IST


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