NASA pilots who will fly the X-plane after Lockheed Martin's pilots have completed initial test flights.
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.
This new contract between Lockheed Martin and NASA is looking to reignite the dream of supersonic commercial aircraft by overcoming the sonic boom. NASA expects Lockheed Martin to deliver the X-plane to its Armstrong Flight Research Center by the end of 2021.
The California-based company has been tasked with developing a "Low Boom Flight Demonstrator", (LBFD) an experimental aircraft that could achieve near-silent supersonic travel.
The first supersonic commercial airline Concorde that began service in 1976, built by a French-British coalition and flown by Air France and British Airways, was discontinued in 2003 in part because noise complaints limited its flights.
NASA will then send the "scientifically collected human response" data to the US Federal Aviation Administration and the International Civil Aviation Organization "so they can use the data to change the current rule that completely bans civil supersonic flights over land", Shin said.
The agency expects to have gathered enough data to properly recommend overland supersonic regulations to the FAA by 2023 or 2024, John Carter, manager of NASA's low-boom flight demonstration project at the Armstrong Flight Research Center, said in an interview past year. That data will then be turned over to US and worldwide regulators to be considered when making new rules on sound for supersonic flights over land. Once tested for safety, the plane will be ready to fly over select communities to get feedback on the impact.
Beginning in mid-2022, NASA will fly the X-plane over select USA cities and collect data about community responses to the flights. "Our long tradition of solving the technical barriers of supersonic flight to benefit everyone continues", said Shin.
As you can see there's a long way to go before a quiet supersonic jet is even built and tested, but the work is underway.
The sound level these folks are going for is 75 Perceived Level decibel (PLdB).
Gulfstream, a unit of General Dynamics Corp, has said it won't attempt to build a supersonic aircraft until it is cleared to fly open-throttle over land and sea.