Supersonic commercial flights sound amazing in theory but in practice, they’ve been extinct since the Concorde took its last flight in 2003.
The hiccup for domestic flights has been that aircraft can’t break the sound barrier over the United States. NASA just awarded a $20 million contract to Lockheed Martin to develop an aircraft that can go past the speed of sound without the ear-shattering sonic boom, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Lockheed engineers are tasked with developing an aircraft that makes a “low boom” that sounds more like a thump than a boom.
Lockheed announced the program last week at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. The goal is to shorten travel times for cross-country flights in half.
Bethesda, Maryland-Lockheed Martin bases two of its business units in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in based in Fort Worth, and the Missiles and Fire Control unit is headquartered in Grand Prairie. Combined, they employ roughly 13,000 people.
Lockheed Martin Vice President Orlando Carvalho said he can foresee the technology be applicable to commercial air travel in the future.
The Country Caller reported that the technology could be used first in corporate jets before being applied to large commercial airliners.
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