The NASA aerospace agency shared some details about the development of the new experimental aircraft Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD). The agency signed a contract for its creation in 2016 and now told that it’s time to develop and create it. If the LBFD experiment proves to be successful, it can become the starting point for the development of quiet supersonic technology, as well as the creation of supersonic and very quiet passenger airliners.
At a press conference, Deputy Director of the Office of Aeronautical Technologies Research, Javon Shin, announced that Lockheed Martin would build a new supersonic aircraft for the agency. The cost of the contract is 247.5 million dollars. The representative of the company, who also participated in this conference, explained that this aircraft would become not just a prototype, but a real research vessel. The first test flights of the new supersonic plane will have to begin in 2021.
The primary goal of the project is to create an aircraft with the technology that allows reducing the noise of overcoming the sound barrier, which in future will enable using apparatus equipped with such technology over the American continent. Flights of the pilot-aircraft will be conducted over several selected American cities, after which NASA plans to interview their residents and find out if they have heard anything. The agency hopes that a successful experiment will make it possible to lift a long-standing ban on flights of supersonic aircraft over land.
For most commercial flights for almost half a century, there is a definite speed limit of 660 miles per hour (about 1000 km / h). At this speed, a standardly sized aircraft, flying at an altitude of 30,000 feet (about 9 km), overcomes the sound barrier and creates a 30-mile (48 km) continuous sonic boom. In the first, near-ground layer of the atmosphere, the perturbations during takeoff and landing of the aircraft cause rather unpleasant consequences – the glasses break, the plaster crack and the animals on the farms go crazy. As a result, supersonic flights over the US territory have been banned since 1973.
The length of the experimental apparatus LBFD will be 29 meters or roughly the size of a small business liner. The altitude of the flight will be 17 thousand meters. The machine can develop a speed of 1.4 times the speed of sound (about 1600 km / h).
Earlier NASA reported that within the project it is planned to create a supersonic aircraft, whose noise level will not exceed the range of 60 to 65 dBA. By volume, it will be comparable with the sound of a sports car on the highway or a dull rumble of conversations in a crowded restaurant.