6 Hours – That’s How Fast NASA Will Get You Around the World

No one has a good story about air travel.  At best flying is tolerable.  At worst it’s a nightmare of delays, cancellations and being stuck in airports for hours upon hours with overpriced food and lost luggage.  Even NASA hates it, or so it would seem, since they’re now proposing a new kind of “low boom” aircraft that can get you anywhere on Earth in 6 hours.

NASA is giving Lockheed Martin a $20 million design contract to work on the aircraft. The big deal that makes this different is the fact a typical plane will create that annoying sonic boom once it breaks the sound barrier at just under 768 miles per hour.  That sound is so annoying it’s banned, and there is no supersonic flight permitted in US airspace. 

NASA’s plane for a low boom craft is literally what it sounds like – a plane that just emits a quiet sonic boom, which apparently is a thing that can happen.  Instead of a big bang you get a muffled thud.  It’s called Quiet Supersonic Transport, or QueSST, because having a cool nickname is the start of any good technology.  The idea is great if it can work but so far supersonic flight has been little more than a pain in the ass.  Consider the Concorde, which could get you from New York to London in just over 3 hours.  Sounds awesome, except it was louder than an elephant kicking your ass against a gong and the price of a ticket was nearly $10,000.

This guy thinks it’s bull$#!t

If new technology can make supersonic flight viable, quiet and affordable, then there’s no reason to have to endure a 16 hour flight to Australia.  And if you want to get from LA to Las Vegas, you’re looking at less than 20 minutes.  You can go on a drunken whim and never have time to sober up and realize what a bad idea it was!