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NASA’s pursuit of a 90-minute transatlantic supersonic flight

NASA’s ground-breaking project, the X-59 research jet, promises to cut flight times, allowing passengers to travel from London to New York in just 90 minutes. Developed as part of the 2016 Quest mission, the main goal of the initiative is to create an aircraft that can exceed the speeds of sound without the notorious sonic boom, which has been the main obstacle to supersonic commercial flights over populated areas.

Built by defense giant Lockheed Martin, the X-59 has the ability to cruise smoothly at 937 mph, reaching altitudes of 55,000 feet, all without producing prohibitive noise levels. Test flights over US cities are scheduled in 2024 to gauge public reaction to the plane’s noise impact, which could prompt a review of aviation regulations.

Fueling their ambition, NASA’s Glenn Research Center unveiled its exploration of the business feasibility of supersonic travel, envisioning flights across the Atlantic at incredible speeds of 1,500 to 3,000 mph.

Given that contemporary large commercial jets have an average speed of 600 mph, this technological leap would revolutionize transatlantic travel. Heavyweights like Boeing and Rolls-Royce are now on board, tasked with outlining a road map for this aviation breakthrough.

Mary Jo Long-Davis, who leads NASA’s hypersonic technology enterprise, emphasized the importance of balancing innovation with safety, efficiency and environmental concerns. “Innovate responsibly,” he emphasizes.

Anticipation around the X-59’s potential was palpable as Lockheed Martin, having secured a contract worth £187.5 million, transitioned the jet to ground testing , heralding a maiden flight this year.

Evoking memories of the iconic Concorde, the last supersonic marvel that broke the record for flights from New York to London in less than three hours, NASA’s advances in supersonic technology hint at a promising future for aviation.

However, NASA is not the only pioneer. With companies like United Airlines partnering with Boom Supersonic and Virgin Galactic unveiling their supersonic passenger plane concepts, the race to redefine air travel is clearly heating up.

This article is sourced from and written by AI.

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