By Matt McFarland
Sitting cramped in coach on a long flight can be unbearable. And NASA feels your pain. The agency is funding early efforts to build a plane so fast it could whisk you to any city on the planet in six hours or less.
NASA is giving Lockheed Martin about $20 million in a preliminary design contract to demonstrate a “low boom” aircraft.
When planes exceed the speed of sound — 767.269 mph — they generate what NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden described as an “annoying boom” at a news conference Monday. Because of this, supersonic flight is prohibited over the United States.
NASA envisions a plane that emits a quieter sonic boom, more like a subtle thump. If supersonic flights were quiet enough to be allowed widely, the appeal of shorter flight times would likely be appealing to travelers.
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