Nearly 20 years after the final flight of Concorde—the world’s first supersonic commercial airliner—the aviation industry is entering the era of ultrafast air travel. according toThe New York PostNASA’s experimental supersonic aircraft, X-59 ‘Son of Concord’ is ready for its first test flight.
Smaller and slower than the Concorde, the X-59 has a top speed of 1,500 km/h and promises to cut travel time from New York to London by around 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Research recently published by Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) suggests that by 2033, a flight from London to Sydney could cut the current 22 hours to just two hours.
Suborbital flights are similar to the rockets used by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Jet Program. Operating at a speed of 3500 miles per hour (5632 kilometers per hour), these flights offer incredible time-saving opportunities.
For example, one can go from New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes instead of the current 15 hour drive. For example, a trip from New York to London can be completed in one hour.
The X-59 also features ‘Quiet Supersonic Technology’, intended to break the sound barrier and turn a sonic boom into a ‘sonic thump’.
“When an aircraft is traveling faster than the speed of sound, shock waves form and travel away from the aircraft. Typically, these shock waves combine to create annoying sonic booms that can be heard on the ground for miles on either side of the aircraft’s flight path. The X-59 is designed to prevent the shock waves from coming together.” NASA said.
When fully assembled and ready for flight, the single-seat X-59 would be 100 feet (30.5 m) long, with a wingspan of just 29.5 feet (9 m) and a height of just 14 feet (4.25 m). It can cruise at an altitude of 55,000 feet and has a cruising speed of Mach 1.4.
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