Before Lockheed Martin and NASA start orbiting a research platform around Mars in 2028, the two aerospace companies are hoping to accomplish something here on the third rock from the sun:
Make the Concorde great again.
Specifically, they plan on getting the faster-than-sound aircraft — which last flew in November 2003 yet still owns the Guinness World Record for fastest commercial flight between London and New York — back in the air by fixing its biggest problem … being too damn loud.
In order to allow the aircraft to go supersonic without scaring the crap out of us land-lubbers, NASA and LM are redesigning the shape of the plane so it can hit the same speeds but create less powerful waveforms, resulting in what they term a “low boom.”
The formula for the plane has been in development since the ‘90s, but only recently has the design been anywhere close to a reality, according to NASA Commercial Supersonic Technology Project Manager Peter Coen.
“We’ve been able to go from a nice mathematical solution, which you really couldn’t design an airplane to meet, to the point where we’ve got a good practical solution for low noise that we can meet with a practical airplane design.”
If all goes to plan, a redesigned Concorde could be conducting overflight testing by 2021.
Here’s to hoping it goes quietly into the night.
Image via Nasa / Lockheed Martin