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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Supersonic Green Machine

This future aircraft design concept for supersonic flight over land comes from a team led by the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The only commercial supersonic aircraft to go into service, the Concorde, could only fly between New York and either Paris or London because most countries banning Concorde flights over land due to the sonic boom that constantly trails the aircraft at speeds above MACH 1.

The Lockheed team's simulation shows possibility for achieving overland flight by dramatically lowering the level of sonic booms through the use of an "inverted-V" engine-under wing configuration. Other revolutionary technologies help achieve range, payload and environmental goals.

One other major problem with the Concorde was that due to the enormous fuel consumption of the aircraft at MACH 2, the cost of a typical return transatlantic flight was around $24,000 - or the price of a new small car. To solve this problem we're wondering if either Boeing, Lockheed Martin or NASA are looking to resurect Project Pluto, a nuclear powered ramjet experiment from the 1960s or some of the aircraft reactor experiments (ARE) from the 1950s based on Molten-Salt Thorium Reactors.

This Lockheed Martin concept is one of two designs presented in April 2010 to the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate for its NASA Research Announcement-funded studies into advanced supersonic cruise aircraft that could enter service in the 2030-2035 timeframe.

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