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NASA debuts supersonic jet that can fly from NYC to London in three and a half hours

NASA debuts supersonic jet that can fly from NYC to London in three and a half hours

It is hoped the plane will be able to travel over land at supersonic speeds, as well as across the Atlantic

A new plane dubbed the 'Son of Concorde' could once again take air travel to supersonic speeds.

NASA and aerospace and arms company Lockheed Martin unveiled the new design, which it is hoped will be able to fly over land at supersonic speeds.

Supersonic flight has been banned in the US and other nations in non military aircraft.

This was due to the loud sonic boom produced when a plane passes the speed of sound at 767 miles per hour.

If completed successfully, the new plane could potentially travel from New York to London in just three and a half hours, around half the time it takes a standard jetliner.

It is hoped that the aircraft's long tapered nose would allow it to avoid producing the loud noise, and make supersonic flight possible over land as well.

The new design, called the X-59, has the tapered nose, with the cockpit located around halfway down the plane.

This also means that the pilots can't actually see where they are going, and have to rely on 'a series of high-resolution cameras feeding a 4K monitor'.

The X-59 was unveiled by NASA and Lockheed Martin.
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The X-59 is part of NASA's Quesst mission, which is 'providing data to help regulators reconsider rules that prohibit commercial supersonic flight over land'.

NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy said: “This is a major accomplishment made possible only through the hard work and ingenuity from NASA and the entire X-59 team.

“In just a few short years we’ve gone from an ambitious concept to reality. NASA’s X-59 will help change the way we travel, bringing us closer together in much less time.”

That said, from the appearance of the aircraft - which is expected to fly at 925 mph - it seems that there is still some way to go yet.

With even pilots looking more than a little cramped, there doesn't seem to be much room for passengers and their luggage just yet.

The 'unique experimental airplane' is intended more to demonstrate that the principle of muting supersonic flight can work.

Doesn't look like there's much legroom!
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

It can than hopefully be applied in a design large enough to leave a bit of legroom for taller passengers.

Bob Pearce, associate administrator for aeronautics research at NASA Headquarters, said: “It’s thrilling to consider the level of ambition behind Quesst and its potential benefits.

“NASA will share the data and technology we generate from this one-of-a-kind mission with regulators and with industry.

"By demonstrating the possibility of quiet commercial supersonic travel over land, we seek to open new commercial markets for U.S. companies and benefit travellers around the world.”

The plane has yet to actually fly however, with the Quesst team now preparing for it to take to the air for the first time later this year.

Featured Image Credit: NASA

Topics: Technology, US News, NASA