NASA, Lockheed Assess Preliminary X-Plane Design in Supersonic Wind Tunnel

Lockheed Martin and NASA have begun high-speed wind tunnel tests on the preliminary design of a supersonic passenger jet at the space agency’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio.

NASA said Saturday it will continue to test a nine percent scale model of the Quiet Supersonic Technology X-plane in GRC’s Supersonic Wind Tunnel over the next eight weeks to collect data on the aerodynamics of the plane design along with aspects of the propulsion system.

Lockheed designed QueSST under a contract awarded last year through NASA’s New Aviation Horizons program that aims to reduce aircraft fuel consumption, emissions and noise.

Peter Iosifidis, QueSST program manager at Lockheed’s Skunk Works division, said the design works to reduce the X-plane’s “noise signature to more of a ‘heartbeat’ instead of the traditional sonic boom that’s associated with current supersonic aircraft in flight today.”

“We need to see how the design performs from just after takeoff, up to cruising at supersonic speed, back to the start of the landing approach,” said David Stark, a facility manager at GRC.

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