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The Low Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD) is scheduled to begin flying in 2021 after NASA selects the manufacturer early next year, the agency says.
The supersonic, single-engined jet is intended to prove that new designs tools developed by NASA and industry can muffle the thunderous double-boom produced by a supersonic shockwave to a non-annoying thump. Such data could be used to ask regulators in the USA and Europe to overturn restrictions on flying aircraft at supersonic speeds over populated areas.
It also will serve as a testbed for other technologies. Instead of a forward windscreen, the X-plane pilot will view the aircraft’s forward path from a ultra high-definition video produced by a camera installed in a fuselage-mounted fairing, says David Richwine, who managed the preliminary design project called the Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST).