NASA Selects Contractor for Quiet Supersonic Flight Community Testing

A composite image, which includes an illustration of NASAs X-59 research aircraft
This composite image, which includes an illustration of NASAs X-59 research aircraft, shows the airplanes final configuration following years of research and design engineering. The single-pilot aircraft is now under construction at Lockheed Martins Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California.
Credits: Lockheed Martin

NASA has awarded a contract to Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. of Burlington, Massachusetts, to support a national campaign of community overflight tests using the agencys X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology research aircraft.

This cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract has a maximum potential value of approximately $29 million with an eight-year period of performance.

Significant subcontractors include:

  • Westat Inc. of Rockville, Maryland
  • Blue Ridge Research and Consulting LLC of Asheville, North Carolina
  • EMS Brel & Kjr Inc. of Folsom, California

NASA is designing and building the X-59 research aircraft a piloted, single-seat supersonic X-plane with technology that reduces the loudness of a sonic boom to that of a gentle thump.NASA’s aeronautical innovators are leading a team across government and industry to collect data that could allow supersonic flight over land, dramatically reducing travel time within the United States or to anywhere in the world.

The scope of the work under this contract includes supporting NASA in the planning, execution, and documentation of phase three of the agencys Low-Boom Flight Demonstration mission.

NASA currently is working with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works of Palmdale, California, to design, build and conduct initial flight testing of the X-59 research aircraft as part of phase one of the mission. The team will work during phase two to prove the X-59 performs as designed and is safe to fly in the national airspace. During phase three, NASA will fly the X-59 aircraft over communities yet to be selected and ask residents to share their response to the sound the aircraft generates during supersonic flight.

NASA will provide the results of the community survey and the X-59 acoustic data collected during the community overflight tests to U.S. and international regulators for use in considering new sound-based rules to enable supersonic flight over land.

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