NASA and a number of industry teams are studying how to design and build an airplane that demonstrate technology to lessen the noise and window-rattling effects of supersonic flight.
Each team was awarded approximately $1 million for a five-month study. NASA will use the results to define technology and design requirements for a low sonic boom demonstration aircraft. The research will determine whether it's feasible to modify an existing aircraft or to design a new one as the quiet boom demonstrator.
"The concept exploration studies are crucial," said Peter Coen, of NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., and a member of the Sonic Boom Mitigation Project planning team. "They will determine whether a low sonic boom demonstrator aircraft can be built at an affordable cost in a reasonable amount of time."
"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 Sonic Boom Mitigation Demonstration Project manager Bob Meyer at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.
NASA awarded a grant to American Technology Alliances (AmTech) to fund these preliminary studies for the Sonic Boom Mitigation Project. The studies will be 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., teamed with Cessna Aircraft Company, Wichita, Kan.
The same grant is funding Allison Advanced Development Company, Indianapolis; GE Transportation, Cincinnati; and Pratt and Whitney, Hartford, Conn., to support the teams with engine-related data.
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 (VSP) in which breakthrough technologies are carried forward to flight," said Rich Wlezien, VSP manager at NASA Headquarters. NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate manages the program.
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