An aircraft that is faster than sound: The US space agency NASA is currently working on this. The “Son of Concorde” is scheduled to fly from Europe to the east coast of the USA in 3 hours. Now that the first tests have been successfully completed, the supersonic jet could take off this year – and make significantly less noise than its predecessors.
When the first passenger supersonic jet conquered the airspace with the “Concorde” in the 1970s, it quickly became clear: the new aircraft had not been properly thought through. The travel time could be drastically reduced. But when breaking the sound barrier at more than 1235 km/h, there was a deafening bang of 110 decibels. For comparison: This is as loud as a chainsaw. The technology did not catch on, and the project was officially discontinued in 2003. But now there should be a quiet successor: the Jet X-59, also called “Son of Concorde”.
The new supersonic jet will be 29.5 meters long and 9 meters wide and will reach a speed of 1700 kilometers per hour. This would mean that the route from London to New York could be completed in just three hours. The new plane is being developed by the US space agency NASA, which is primarily focusing on reducing the volume of the unavoidable bang. The aim is that only a “gentle thunder” can be heard, according to NASA . This would also make cross-country flights possible with the “Son of Concorde”. But how should the bang be reduced?
Test with the “Son of Concorde” successful
Above all, the design of the “Son of Concorde” is intended to reduce the volume of the bang. On the one hand, the engine was stowed further forward in the aircraft, and on the other hand, the aircraft was equipped with a particularly long nose. The almost 10 meter long nose of the aircraft is intended to ensure that the sound waves do not “rock up”, according to NASA. Initial tests in the wind tunnel have now shown that the idea works.
It has “proven that quieter aircraft can be developed,” said lead researcher of the 14-day tests, John Wolter. The Jet X-59 is to be launched for a first test flight this year. From 2023 there will be test flights over several US cities as part of the next project phase. Then at the latest it will become clear whether the 247 million dollar project was really successful.