Supersonic & Hypersonic Civilian Transport Projects in Development

Overture supersonic passenger jet (Credit: Boom Supersonic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Boom Supersonic’s recent rollout of its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft marked a milestone in an accelerating race to revive an era of civilian supersonic travel that ended when the Concorde jetliner was retired in 2003.

XB-1, aka Baby Boom, is set to begin flight tests next year from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The Mach 2.2 (2,717 km/h, 1,688 mph) vehicle is the precursor to Boom’s 55-seat Overture airliner, which is scheduled to begin carrying passengers in 2029.

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NASA Takes Delivery of GE Jet Engine for X-59 Supersonic Demonstrator

The F414-GE-100 engine, which will power NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology X-plane (QueSST) in flight, is unboxed at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The engine, one of two delivered by GE, is approximately 13 feet long, and will power X-59 on missions to gather information about how the public perceives the sounds of quieter supersonic flight. (Credits: NASA / Ken Ulbrich)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Mark the big one-of-a-kind engine, designed and built just for NASA, as delivered.

Nearly 13 feet long, three feet in diameter, and packing 22,000 pounds of afterburner enhanced jet propulsion, the F414-GE-100 engine is now at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base in California.

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NASA Announces Advanced Composite Research Partnership

Boeing composite tank
Boeing composite tank

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected six companies from five U.S. states to participate in a government-and-industry partnership to advance composite materials research and certification.

The companies are:

  • Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas
  • GE Aviation of Cincinnati
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, Calif.
  • Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems of Redondo Beach, Calif.
  • Boeing Research & Technology of St. Louis
  • United Technologies Corporation and subsidiary Pratt & Whitney of Hartford, Conn.

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Sean O’Keefe, Back to the Beltway

Former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe will be returning to Washington in June as GE Aviation’s top lobbyist, according to press reports. He will replace Tom Cooper, who is retiring after 21 years.

O’Keefe, who held the space agency’s top job from 2001-2005, recently announced his resignation as chancellor of Louisiana State University. Although business leaders campaigned to keep him, he had lost the support of LSU System President John Lombardi and some members of the Board of Supervisors.

“Sean brings a wealth of experience involving complex public policy issues as well as advanced technology,” Scott Donnelly, President and CEO of GE Aviation, said in a press release. “He takes over the helm of our Washington office at a very dynamic period in the aviation industry.”

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has a story, as does the Shreveport Times. You can also read the official GE press release.