NASA has vowed to launch the maiden flight of a pioneering 1,000 mph jet within five years.
The space agency is hoping to test its Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) plane in 2021.
This experimental plane (X-Plane) could speed from London to New York in just over three hours.
It’s already being hailed as the “the new Concorde” and has revived the dream of supersonic passenger flight which was abandoned when this iconic plane was grounded in 2003.
The QueSST is designed by Lockheed Martin and is designed to produce a “soft heartbeat thump” when it breaks the sound barrier, rather than an ear-shattering sonic boom.
“We are ready to go on building that demonstrator,” said Rob Weiss, Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs executive vice president and general manager.
“We feel we have a technological advantage in the amount of investment we have made in the tools and the vehicle itself.”
Supersonic flight is actually banned over land in the US because of the noise it produces.
It’s hoped that QueSST will be quiet enough to fly above cities and towns without disturbing the people below.
It is designed to achieve Mach 1.4 (1,074 miles per hour) at 55,000 feet above the ground.
This will actually make it slower than Concorde, which could reach a top speed of about Mach 2 (1,534 mph.)
However, it should be able to travel faster when flying to and from America if it’s quiet enough to reach supersonic speeds without a sonic boom.
“The aircraft is shaped to separate the shocks and expansions associated with supersonic flight,” Lockheed Martin wrote. QueSST’s “heartbeat” will be dramatically quieter than the traditional “N-wave” sonic boom associated with the current supersonic aircraft in flight today.
The Skunk Works team has been advancing this technology for the last 20 years as part of multiple efforts.
“QueSST’s ‘heartbeat’ will be dramatically quieter than the traditional sonic boom associated with the current supersonic aircraft in flight today.”
The next level up from supersonic is hypersonic.
Last year, it was claimed a hypersonic plane could transport passengers from Los Angeles to Sydney in less than three hours.
Despite claims that the testing of hypersonic jets will begin in 2020, it will probably be so long until we see these mega-fast planes taking to the skies that people living in the City of Angels might find it faster to just walk to Sydney.