PALMDALE (CBSLA) — NASA has chosen Palmdale-based Lockheed Martin Skunk Works to design and build its X-plane, a supersonic aircraft that will be able to cruise up to 940 miles per hour and as high as 55,000 feet without generating a sonic boom.
The plane, known as the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator, will make supersonic passenger air travel a reality, according to Skunk Works.
“It is super exciting to be back designing and flying X-planes at this scale,” Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics, said in a statement.
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works was also awarded the NASA contract in February 2016 for the preliminary design of the supersonic X-plane flight demonstrator.
The plane is set to take flight in 2021.
The Federal Aviation Administration has had a long-standing ban on supersonic flight by commercial aircraft over land.
The NASA X-plane is just one of several new moves into the supersonic passenger jet space. Companies involved in the effort say the growth in global business travel, as well as new developments in materials and computing, could make supersonic flight more economically viable than during the days of the Concorde.
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