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posted by martyb on Wednesday February 14 2018, @05:10AM   Printer-friendly
from the no-boom-zoom dept.

Trump Backs Supersonic NASA Jet That Will Fly From New York to London in Three Hours

A sleek, experimental plane that would quietly crack the speed of sound and transform a trans-Atlantic flight into a three-hour hop received critical backing on Monday under NASA's budget request for the fiscal year that starts October 1, 2018. The document signals the Trump administration would like to prioritize the jet, as well as further research into faster-than-sound airplane technology.

The budget request refers to the Low-Boom Flight-Demonstrator, a plane NASA wants in order to bring back supersonic commercial flights by mitigating their most annoying side effect, the loud sonic boom that accompanies them.

That boom has always been the biggest stumbling block for commercial supersonic flight. It is caused by the sheer number of air particles the nose of the plane pushes aside as it flies. Those molecules form a wave of high pressure, like a boat's wake as NASA describes it, which rolls out like a carpet beneath the airplane.

Also at Space.com.

Related: NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport
Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight
NASA Tests Light, Foldable Plane Wings for Supersonic Flights
NASA Releases 2018 Edition of Spinoff


Original Submission

Related Stories

NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport 12 comments

The Guardian reports that NASA has begun another project [Javascript required] to design a quieter (low boom) commercial supersonic transport aircraft and has awarded the contract for the preliminary design to a team lead by Lockheed Martin.

Part of the project will be to study what would be acceptable noise levels from such a vehicle, and advances in design mean that the sonic boom associated with traditional supersonic aircraft could be replaced by a less disruptive pair of soft thuds.

A quieter supersonic aircraft would have potentially much larger markets than Concorde, which was effectively limited to going supersonic only over the ocean because of the intensity of its sonic boom.


Original Submission

Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight 22 comments

NASA says the preliminary design review of its Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) project suggests it is possible to create a supersonic aircraft that doesn't produce a sonic boom.

NASA says "Senior experts and engineers from across the agency and the Lockheed Martin Corporation concluded on Friday that the QueSST design is capable of fulfilling the LBFD aircraft's mission objectives, which are to fly at supersonic speeds, but create a soft 'thump' instead of the disruptive sonic boom associated with supersonic flight today."

NASA's commercial supersonic technology project manager Peter Coen explains, in this video, that "the idea is to design the airplane so that the shock waves that are produced in supersonic flight are arranged in such a way that you don't have a boom. You have just a general kind of a gradual pressure rise that produces a quiet sound."

NASA's next step is finding organisations willing to build a working model of the Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) experimental airplane and fly it over American cities and towns to hear how much noise it makes. It's hoped those flights could start in 2021.

Nah, rather travel in the kind of zeppelin Sergei Brin is building.


Original Submission

NASA Tests Light, Foldable Plane Wings for Supersonic Flights 3 comments

NASA is experimenting with planes whose outer wing sections can fold up or down depending on the current flight conditions. Even more interesting is that they are doing it with "shape memory alloy" rather than hydraulics.

Planes that can fold their wings to different angles while in the air have the potential to fly faster than their peers, and NASA has recently made headway into their development. The space agency has conducted a series of test flights proving that it can control the wings it designed to move into any position and that they have aerodynamic benefits. While the technology has existed for a long time, it typically requires the use of heavy hydraulic systems. NASA's version doesn't need that kind of machinery: it relies on the properties of a temperature-activated material called shape memory alloy instead. Upon being heated, the alloy activates a twisting motion in the tubes serving as the wings' actuator, moving the wings' outer portion up to 70 degrees upwards or downwards.

The foldable wings will give typical planes like commercial airliners a way to adapt to different flight conditions. They can give pilots more control over their aircraft and could even lead to more fuel efficient flights. Planes designed to fly at supersonic speeds (faster than the speed of sound), however, will get more out of this technology.

As Matt Moholt, the principal director of the Spanwise Adaptive Wing project, said:

"There's a lot of benefit in folding the wing tips downward to sort of 'ride the wave' in supersonic flight, including reduced drag. This may result in more efficient supersonic flight. Through this effort, we may be able to enable this element to the next generation of supersonic flight, to not only reduce drag but also increase performance, as you transition from subsonic to supersonic speeds. This is made possible using shape memory alloy."

Video: NASA Examines Technology To Fold Aircraft Wings In Flight


Original Submission

NASA Releases 2018 Edition of Spinoff 8 comments

NASA tries to justify its existence yet again:

The 2018 edition of NASA's annual Spinoff publication, released Tuesday, features 49 technologies the agency helped create that are used in almost every facet of modern life. These include innovations that help find disaster survivors trapped under rubble, purify air and surfaces to stop the spread of germs, and test new materials for everything from airplanes to athletic shoes.

[...] In Spinoff 2018, you'll learn how:

  • Ultra-sensitive radar technology used to detect gravity fluctuations was repurposed to identify the vital signs of disaster survivors trapped under rubble;
  • A technique developed to preserve plants in a spacecraft led to devices that eliminate bacteria, viruses, molds and volatile organic compounds from air, surfaces and even laundry;
  • One company's work on high-speed stereo photogrammetry for space shuttle analysis now enables low-cost, highly-accurate materials testing to improve designs for everything from running shoes to jetliners.

[...] Other highlights include: artificial intelligence that helps drones avoid collisions and could one day enable self-driving cars; a business jet that is both the fastest and the most efficient in its class; and a computer program that, 50 years after its creation, is still used to design cars, buildings and much more.

[...] The book also features a Spinoffs of Tomorrow section that highlights 20 NASA technologies ripe for commercial application and available for licensing. These include an algae photobioreactor that cleans wastewater while producing biofuels, a revolutionary all-in-one gear and bearing, and the combined technologies of the highly dexterous humanoid robot Robonaut 2.

Spinoff 2018.


Original Submission

NASA Awards Quiet Supersonic Aircraft Contract to Lockheed Martin 4 comments

NASA has awarded a contract to create a relatively quiet supersonic jet plane to Lockheed Martin:

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, California, was selected for the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration contract, a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract valued at $247.5 million. Work under the contract began April 2 and runs through Dec. 31, 2021.

Under this contract, Lockheed Martin will complete the design and fabrication of an experimental aircraft, known as an X-plane, which will cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of about 940 mph and create a sound about as loud as a car door closing, 75 Perceived Level decibel (PLdB), instead of a sonic boom.

NASA plans to fly the "X-plane" over U.S. cities starting in 2022 in order to "collect data about community responses to the flights".

Also at Popular Mechanics, Newsweek, and Wired.

Previously: NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport
Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight
NASA Tests Light, Foldable Plane Wings for Supersonic Flights
Trump Administration Supports NASA's Quieter Supersonic Plane Design


Original Submission

NASA is Showering One City With Sonic Booms and Hoping No One Notices 8 comments

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

NASA is showering one city with sonic booms and hoping no one notices

NASA has been deliberately creating sonic booms off the coast of Galveston, Texas, since Monday in the hope that residents on the barrier island community won't be too bothered by the sound of an F/A-18 aircraft briefly going supersonic.

That's because the research jet is performing a dive maneuver designed to reduce the normally thunderous sonic boom to what NASA calls a "quiet thump," more like the sound of a car door slamming.

The test flights are aimed at measuring the community response to the new, quieter booms and are part of NASA's larger effort to develop a new, more muted supersonic plane that might be able to fly over land.

Previously: NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport
Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight
NASA Tests Light, Foldable Plane Wings for Supersonic Flights
Trump Administration Supports NASA's Quieter Supersonic Plane Design
NASA Awards Quiet Supersonic Aircraft Contract to Lockheed Martin


Original Submission

NASA's Quiet Supersonic Plane Cleared for Final Assembly 9 comments

NASA's X-59 QueSST cleared for final assembly

NASA's first large scale, piloted X-plane in more than three decades is cleared for final assembly and integration of its systems following a major project review by senior managers held Thursday at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The management review, known as Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D), was the last programmatic hurdle for the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft to clear before officials meet again in late 2020 to approve the airplane's first flight in 2021.

"With the completion of KDP-D we've shown the project is on schedule, it's well planned, and on track. We have everything in place to continue this historic research mission for the nation's air-traveling public," said Bob Pearce, NASA's associate administrator for Aeronautics.

Jonny Quest Rusty Venture was unavailable for comment.

Also at BGR.

Previously: NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport
Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight
Trump Administration Supports NASA's Quieter Supersonic Plane Design
Quieter, Faster, Stronger: The Next Jet Age Is Coming


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @05:29AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @05:29AM (#637470)

    What was that!? Something just licked its chops. But it was no ordinary "something". It's fetid. It's disease-ridden. It's hideous. And most of all, it's targeting your rancid rectum.

    A feces fiesta will take place this day.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @06:12AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @06:12AM (#637479)

      What was that!?

      That was Trump, approving the quiet supersonic jet.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by realDonaldTrump on Wednesday February 14 2018, @06:21AM (4 children)

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @06:21AM (#637482) Homepage Journal

    I asked my Defense Department -- my Pentagon -- to do a Nuclear Posturing Review. And they said, look at what Russia is doing. Russia is making a very smart move, they're getting baby nukes, they call them low yield, they call them Tactical. They're like Jeb Bush, very low energy. Amazingly QUIET!!!! And they can have as many as they want, because of treaties. So I told my Pentagon guys, let's do that too. And we're doing it. Let me tell you, we're going to have the QUIETEST nuclear bombs. To where we could set one off right next to you, and you wouldn't hear it.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:49AM (#637520)

      I know someone who has developed that technology. You never hear it. A few seconds later, you are bent over double, gagging.

      Its cheap to fuel too.

      ( It runs on beans! )

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday February 14 2018, @03:14PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 14 2018, @03:14PM (#637611) Journal

      Not especially sophisticated, are you, Donny? Nukes have always been quiet. You can actually sleep next to a nuke, confident that if it should blow, you will never hear it. That's because you're dead at least a couple nanoseconds before the sound arrives. It may seem noisy to the people five or more miles away, but, since you're already dead, you really don't give a damn about their perceptions.

      --
      We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday February 14 2018, @07:04PM (1 child)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @07:04PM (#637777) Journal

      Allright @DJT, you finally broke the illusion!

      Clearly only the biggest nukes will make people forget about that other size....issue.

      • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:59PM

        by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:59PM (#637873) Homepage Journal

        My Generals told me something very smart. They said, "it's not the size, it's how you use it." Say you want to shoot someone but you're TERRIBLE at shooting. You get a very big gun. North Korea, they shoot people with Anti Aircraft guns. They shoot you in the leg with an Anti Aircraft gun, you die. They shoot you in the arm, you die. Because the bullet is HUGE, it takes off your arm or your leg. And you're bleeding very badly. Worse than Megyn. Worse than Crazy Mika. I'll tell you, it's not a nice way to die. But let's say you're TERRIFIC at shooting. You shoot a guy with a .22 and he's gonna die. VERY SMALL bullet but you know EXACTLY where to put it, it's amazing. There's this tiny little hole where you put it in, and the guy's dead. It's a beautiful thing. And our nuclear arsenal, we're making it like that. We're gonna have the smallest, smallest nukes. But the most exact. They will have a flash. A very small flash, like when you take a selfie. And they will have a bang. A very small bang. Like the bang from a dude with micropenis. His penis is so tiny, right? He screws you, you ask yourself, "am I getting screwed?" You don't know if he's screwing you. You know it when you get pregnant. And maybe, probably, he makes a beautiful and very smart child with you. Our nuclear arsenal is going to be like that. Folks are going to be like, "where's Kim, have you seen Kim?" And "Kim's gone, maybe, probably, President Donald J. Trump nuked him, thank you President Trump!"

        Another thing my Generals told me -- not many people know this -- our nuclear arsenal has three legs. Missiles, submarines and bombers. Our bombers are the third leg. So important! And we have bombers that are supposed to be invisible. Believe me, they're not invisible. They're invisible to RADAR. But you can see them very easily. And they make noise, a mike can pick them up. Billy Bush, he picked up some stuff with a mike. He made a tape, his camera guy made a tape when I didn't know he was taping, it was almost a problem. It could have been a problem. But I said something smart and it was OK. Let me tell you, when we're in a nuclear war we don't want any problems when we send our bombers. So we want them to be VERY QUIET. So maybe, probably, we'll have some terrific low-boom bombers to carry our low-yield nuclear weapons. WINNING!!

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Sulla on Wednesday February 14 2018, @06:25AM (5 children)

    by Sulla (5173) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @06:25AM (#637483) Journal

    BFR will do it in like 30 minutes, under budget and ahead of schedule.

    --
    Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:52AM (1 child)

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:52AM (#637523)

      Isn't BFR already like 5 - 10 years behind schedule?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @10:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @10:59AM (#637547)

        BFR was announced last year, are you thinking of the SLS?

    • (Score: 2, Redundant) by realDonaldTrump on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:01PM (2 children)

      by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:01PM (#637828) Homepage Journal

      Let me tell you some things not many people know. BFR stands for Big Fucking Rocket. And it's only for cargo, not for people. But if you flew in it you'd get your astronaut wings. And if you had sex in it, it's VERY SPECIAL because of Zero Gravity. Not many people have had Zero Gravity Sex!!

      • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:27PM (1 child)

        by Sulla (5173) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:27PM (#637846) Journal

        So I get that you exist because you appear to be forever butthurt that Trump is president, and thats fine. But you really need to step up the quality of your posting to how you had it when you first started. The original posts were quite good, and occasionally they are still good. Just try harder because really its kind of disappointing, bigly.

        --
        Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
        • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by realDonaldTrump on Wednesday February 14 2018, @11:12PM

          by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @11:12PM (#637938) Homepage Journal

          Many people were surprised that Donald J. Trump was elected President -- and so overwhelmingly! Maybe, probably, they believed the many Fake polls and stories in the Fake News Media. To be perfectly honest with you, I was a little surprised myself. It was the BEST surprise of my life!!!!

          Believe me, every day I'm working very hard. And people tell me I'm doing an AMAZING JOB! A terrific job. They thank me for the opportunity and blessing that I've given them to serve my agenda and the American people. Because I always, always put the American people first. And I thank them for their support. Even you Millennials -- so many wanted Crazy Bernie, but they voted for me when he got schlonged. Thank you!!

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by NotSanguine on Wednesday February 14 2018, @07:38AM (9 children)

    by NotSanguine (285) <{NotSanguine} {at} {SoylentNews.Org}> on Wednesday February 14 2018, @07:38AM (#637504) Homepage Journal

    a plane NASA wants in order to bring back supersonic commercial flights by mitigating their most annoying side effect, the loud sonic boom that accompanies them.

    That boom has always been the biggest stumbling block for commercial supersonic flight.

    No. The biggest stumbling block for commercial supersonic flight has always been the cost of a ticket [telegraph.co.uk]:

    Concorde was retired due to the cost of flying the aircraft. The standard cost of a one-way ticket from London to New York was £4,350 and up to £8,292 for a return.

    --
    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @07:45AM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @07:45AM (#637507)

      In the end, after all the accounting was done, it turns out that the business was profitable.

      Much of the trouble wasn't greatly related to supersonic flight. The aircraft was small and had low-density seating. Well yeah, even if subsonic that won't be affordable.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by NotSanguine on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:21AM (7 children)

        by NotSanguine (285) <{NotSanguine} {at} {SoylentNews.Org}> on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:21AM (#637515) Homepage Journal

        Profitable or not, it was way more expensive (11 times the cost of subsonic flights between JFK and LHR). And to save what? a few hours?

        Please. The Concorde was for people with more money than sense or corporate execs who could con their companies into it. All to be able to brag that they flew on the Concorde. And you don't even need the Concorde for that anymore, Virgin Atlantic will do just fine with US$11,000+ for first class.

        When supersonic travel is around the cost of these flights [google.com], then come talk to me. Until then, it's just a bragging rights thing. Which is why L'Orange is all over it.

        --
        No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tonyPick on Wednesday February 14 2018, @10:05AM (1 child)

          by tonyPick (1237) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @10:05AM (#637539) Homepage Journal

          Profitable or not, it was way more expensive (11 times the cost of subsonic flights between JFK and LHR).

          Because it was only ever running with prototypes - more SST would have reduced the cost. Running a small fleet of prototypes for that long will be expensive.

          And to save what? a few hours?

          ISTR it would have been a substantial win for trips from Europe to the west coast USA (e.g. LAX, flight times are ~12 Hour).

          A while ago the BBC had a program where the designers &managers of the original Concorde development talked about plans and one of the things I recall was the statement that the ban on SST over the US was the real killer, because it meant they couldn't run the planned routes to the US west coast. Can't find the link now (annoyingly)

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @11:15PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @11:15PM (#637940)

            Mexico and Canada might be very happy to tolerate sonic booms if you paid them.

            London to Seattle can go via Canada. Rome to LA can go via Mexico. Berlin to either can go via a polar route and the Pacific Ocean.

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by iru on Wednesday February 14 2018, @10:42AM (1 child)

          by iru (6596) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @10:42AM (#637544)

          I’m curious about the ТЧ-144. How well did it fared economically in comparison to the Concorde. For those who do not know the Tupolev 144 was the Soviet version of a passenger supersonic airplane. Some even say that the Concorde took some inspiration from it.

          • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday February 14 2018, @04:30PM

            by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 14 2018, @04:30PM (#637652) Journal
            Except that the TU-144 was based on Concorde and not the other way around!
            --
            I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
        • (Score: 2) by turgid on Wednesday February 14 2018, @11:16AM (1 child)

          by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 14 2018, @11:16AM (#637552) Journal

          Just wait until the USA has a supersonic passenger plane, then it'll be the best thing since sliced bread.

          • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Wednesday February 14 2018, @11:23AM

            by NotSanguine (285) <{NotSanguine} {at} {SoylentNews.Org}> on Wednesday February 14 2018, @11:23AM (#637555) Homepage Journal

            Just wait until the USA has a supersonic passenger plane, then it'll be the best thing since sliced bread.

            I'm not a huge fan of sliced bread and until supersonic transport is price competitive with subsonic travel, I'm not really interested.

            --
            No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:44PM

          by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:44PM (#637861)

          Concorde let you leave Paris at 11AM and have a morning meeting followed by a business lunch in NY. When your CEO is paid more per hour than most people get per year, it can matter.
          Add rich people, bragging rights ... and you get a break-even flagship for BA and AF.
          Which is why the US, which was late to that party, banned it under "noise concerns", which are total bullshit to anyone who's ever spent an hour in a US city.

          You don't understand it, fine.
          Given the cost of development, whether a supersonic plane could break even today or tomorrow is debatable, and the risk that the math would change before the first deliveries is why nobody's really trying.

          I'm just sad that after retiring the SR-71 and Concorde, humans actually regressed in their ability to go fast from point A to fairly distant point B.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:21AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @08:21AM (#637514)
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @06:42PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14 2018, @06:42PM (#637740)

      So, no worries about sonic booms from supersonic submarines? That's a relief!

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