Airplane on Runway

NASA’s X-Plane to Be Built in Palmdale

According to the Antelope Valley Times, April 4, 2018, NASA awarded a $247.5 million contract to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale to build an X-plane that will be capable of flying at supersonic speeds without generating a sonic boom, officials announced. The full-scale plane, known as the low-boom flight demonstrator, is to be built at the Skunk Works facility in Palmdale and delivered to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center by the end of 2021. The new X-plane’s mission is to provide crucial data that could enable commercial supersonic passenger air travel over land. The X-plane is intended to create a “gentle thump” during flight, no louder than closing a car door, while cruising at about 940 mph at 55,000 feet, the Los Angeles Times reported. The plane’s outer design is key to generating this softer noise by separating the sonic waves created during supersonic flight so they never join together to create the loud sound.

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