July 8, 2005
Dryden Flight Research Center
P.O. Box 273
Edwards, California 93523
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
NASA FUNDS EXPLORATORY STUDIES FOR QUIETING SONIC BOOM
NASA and several industry teams are studying how to design and build
an aircraft that could demonstrate technology to lessen the noise and
window-rattling effects of supersonic flight.
Image Right: Northrop Grumman conceptual designs of quiet supersonic
aircraft. NGC image.
Preparations for NASA's planned Sonic Boom Mitigation Project include
a study of concept feasibility and design requirements for a
prototype technology demonstration airplane that could reduce the
startling "sonic boom" when an aircraft exceeds the speed of sound.
"NASA plans to develop a request for proposals to design and build a
low sonic boom demonstrator using the information provided by the
teams," said Bob Meyer, Sonic Boom Mitigation Demonstration Project
manager at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force
NASA awarded a grant to American Technology Alliances (AmTech) to fund
these studies being conducted by four industry teams. The teams
include solo endeavors by Boeing Phantom Works, Long Beach, Calif.;
and Raytheon Aircraft, Wichita, Kan. Northrop Grumman, El Segundo,
Calif., is working with Gulfstream Aerospace, Savannah, Ga.; and
Lockheed Martin, Palmdale, Calif., has teamed with Cessna Aircraft
Company, Wichita, Kan.
The same grant is also funding Allison Advanced Development Company,
Indianapolis; GE Transportation, Cincinnati; and Pratt and Whitney,
Hartford, Conn., to support the teams with engine-related data.
Each team has been awarded approximately one million dollars for a
five-month study. NASA will use the results to define technology and
design requirements for a low sonic boom demonstration aircraft. The
questions the research will answer include whether it's feasible to
modify an existing aircraft to be the quiet boom demonstrator, or
whether a whole new aircraft design will have to be created.
"The concept exploration studies are crucial," said Peter Coen, of the
Langley Research Center at Hampton, Va., and a member of the Sonic
Boom Mitigation Project planning team. "Those studies will determine
whether a low sonic boom demonstrator aircraft can be built at an
affordable cost in a reasonable amount of time."
The Sonic Boom Mitigation Project could begin work on the research
aircraft as early as this fall.
"It is one element of a transformed Vehicle Systems Program in which
breakthrough technologies are carried forward to flight," said Rich
Wlezien, manager of the Vehicle Systems Program in NASA's Aeronautics
Research Mission Directorate programs.
For more information about the Vehicle Systems Program in the
Internet, see http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/vsp .