Air travel is a pretty phenomenal concept, but there’s no denying that the time it takes to fly from place to place can be a bit annoying. But soon long flights could be a thing of the past, because NASA is making a plane that will go from New York City to Los Angeles in 2 hours. They, along with aerospace company Lockheed Martin, are teaming up to develop a low-boom supersonic aircraft.
NASA announced on April 3 that Lockheed will build the “X-Plane,” an experimental aircraft that can fly at an altitude of 55,000 feet and cruise at a speed of 940 miles per hour without generating a loud sonic boom. Currently, the air travel market doesn’t allow supersonic aircrafts over land because they produce such a loud noise. But Lockheed says the experimental design will reduce the sonic boom to the sound of a car door closing.
The NASA-Lockheed contract ends in December 2021, after which NASA will perform several safety tests and eventually test fly the X-Plane over select cities to see if the sound disturbs the residents below. Ultimately, NASA wants to use the data it collects to open the possibility of using supersonic planes over land. If the plane is successful, it could allow for faster-than-sound travel.