Lockheed Martin has won a contract to develop an aircraft capable of achieving supersonic speed without generating ‘sonic boom’. The NASA’s low-boom flight demonstration contract valued at $247.5 million will allow Lockheed Martin to continue development of its Quiet Supersonic Technology (or QueSST) aircraft.
Lockheed Martin said to have a prototype ready for NASA to test flight by the end of 2021.
Lockheed has agreed to develop an experimental plane that will cruise at 55,000 feet and reach speeds of about 940 mph (1512km/h), that creates sonic boom., but NASA wanted the new aircraft to create a sound less than half the noise level, means a sound of a closing car door.
A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created whenever an object travels through the air (fluid) faster than the speed of sound.
When an aircraft approaches the speed of sound, the airflow over the wing reaches supersonic speed before the airplane itself does, and a shock wave forms on the wing.
These waves travel at the speed of sound and, as the speed of the object increases, the waves are forced together, or compressed, because they cannot get out of the way of each other. Eventually they merge into a single shock wave, which travels at the speed of sound, a critical speed known as Mach 1, generating ‘sonic booms’ every time it breaks the sound barrier.