A new generation of quiet supersonic x-plane aircraft has moved a step closer to reality after Donald Trump gave the go-ahead to plans for a quiet ‘Son of Concorde’.
The plane, proposed by Nasa, is dubbed the Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) low-boom flight demonstrator.
It aims to cut out the noisy sonic booms that echoed above cities in the era of Concorde, while travelling at speeds of 1,100mph (Mach 1.4 / 1,700 km/h).
QueSST will make its first flight in 2021 if production goes according to plan and could one day halve travel times from London to New York to just three hours.
Nasa’s vision has been approved In the latest proposed US budget released by the Office Of Management And Budget In Washington, DC.
The space agency was awarded $19.9 billion (£14.3bn) for the next year, $500 million (£360m) more than the previous year.
It is not known what proportion of this will be spent on the supersonic aircraft project.
QueSST is the latest addition to the X-series of experimental aircraft and rockets, used to test and evaluate new technologies and aerodynamic concepts.
Their X designation indicates their research mission status within the US system of aircraft naming.
This all dates back to Chuck Yeager’s sound-barrier-breaking craft, the X-1, a rocket engine–powered aircraft, designed and built in 1945, that achieved a speed of nearly 1,000 miles per hour (1,600 kmh) in 1948.
QueSST will be used as a test bed for technologies that could make their way into commercial planes.
Writing in the budget, its authors said: ‘The Budget fully funds the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator, an experimental supersonic airplane that would make its first flight in 2021.
‘This “X-plane” would open a new market for US companies to build faster commercial airliners, creating jobs and cutting cross-country flight times in half. ‘
In June 2017, Nasa announced that it planned to begin work on the supersonic X-plane as early as 2018.
Lockheed Martin has been working on the preliminary design, with hopes to move on to build the demonstrator, but NASA also opened the door for other companies to submit their own designs as well.