The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working in collaboration with various aerospace agencies and companies to develop a next-generation supersonic aircraft that promises to revolutionize transatlantic travel.
Specifically, the US space agency states in its official blog that it “studied the business case for supersonic air travel that could theoretically fly between Mach 2 and Mach 4 (between 2,400 and 4,900 kilometers per hour)” and therefore concluded that “Potential” passenger markets exist on around 50 established routes connecting cities.”
X-59, a silent project
In addition, he added that “study results covered transoceanic voyages, including high-traffic routes across the North Atlantic and Pacific.” With this in mind, it is worth noting that, as part of the QueSST (Quiet Supersonic Transport) mission, NASA is quietly working on the development of a supersonic aircraft for commercial operation.
This is the X-59, which is a striking example of technological innovation aimed at overcoming speed limitations in civil aviation. This aircraft would fly at a speed of Mach 1.4 (more than 1,700 kilometers per hour) and provide data to regulators to change the “rules of supersonic land flight”.
reduce flight time
This aircraft is notable for its ability to fly at supersonic speeds without producing the characteristic sonic boom associated with high-speed flight. Indeed, this sonic boom has been one of the main obstacles to supersonic flight over land in the past, as it caused inconvenience to communities on the ground.
One of the iconic routes where the X-59 QueSST is set to demonstrate its potential is the New York-London voyage. Traditionally, this flight takes several hours with conventional commercial aircraft. However, the X-59 QueSST has the potential to significantly reduce flight time (90 minutes).
What would this progress mean?
Not only would this be an amazing technological breakthrough, but it would also open the door to a new era of more efficient and sustainable supersonic travel. Although it is in an advanced stage of development and testing, it has not yet entered commercial service.
In fact, the next stage of high-speed transportation research being conducted by NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicle Program will involve awarding two 12-month contracts to companies to create conceptual designs and technology roadmaps.
In addition, these roadmaps will examine potential routes for air travel, warn of potential hazards, and list the technology required to reach speeds in excess of Mach 2. “Once the industry engagement phase is complete, NASA and its industrial and academic partners will decide whether to continue the research with their own investments,” the space agency said in a statement.