A new plane that would fly from London to New York in three hours has just received crucial funding.
The aircraft, dubbed the ‘Son of Concorde’, was proposed by Nasa and has just been given the go-ahead by US officials.
Its official name is the Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator, and it aims to cut out the loud sonic booms that echoed above towns and cities when the original Concorde would fly.
QueSST could make its maiden voyage in 2021 if all goes according to plan. If so, it will halve the current travel time between London and New York.
Nasa has been awarded £14.3billion in the latest US budget, around £360million more than last year – although it is not clear how much of this will fund production of the Son of Concorde.
The budget said: ‘The Budget fully funds the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator, an experimental supersonic airplane that would make its first flight in 2021.
‘This “X-plane” would open a new market for US companies to build faster commercial airliners, creating jobs and cutting cross-country flight times in half.’
QueSST is the latest addition to Nasa’s X-series of experimental aircrafts and rockets, which are used to test new technologies.
The X designation means that they are part of the US’s research missions.
Lockheed Martin has been working on a preliminary design, but Nasa has also indicated that other companies can submit designs as well.
With QueSST, Nasa is hoping to achieve a sonic boom at least 60 dBA lower than the original Concorde, which was operated until 2003.
A spokesman for the space agency previously said their aim was to create a boom ‘so quiet it hardly will be noticed by the public, if at all… like distant thunder [or] the sound of your neighbour forcefully shutting their car door outside while you are inside’.
Once a contract has been awarded, the winning team will undergo a critical design review in 2019, as the plan edges closer to life.