NASA tests low-noise engine for a supersonic passenger airliner

NASA is working with Lockheed Martin to develop an experimental low-noise supersonic aircraft QueSST, which is due to take to the skies in 2019. The main goal of the project is to create a supersonic commercial passenger liner that breaks the sound barrier with minimal noise.

The special QueSST design, proposed by Lockheed specialists, will prevent the pressure of air waves, which (in existing models), accumulating on the glider, are combined into one powerful shock wave. If everything succeeds, the effect of overcoming the sound wave will "crumble" into several small sound beats.

NASA is currently conducting trials at the Glenn Research Center, where a technology is being tested to reduce the effective perceived engine noise level (EPNdb) to 250-300 decibels. This would be in line with civil aviation acoustic standards, opening the door to commercial airports for QueSST.

The new engine will use a three-way, rather than two-way, variable cycle airflow system, allowing the pilot to manipulate takeoff currents to reduce noise.

“Our main challenge, ” said James Bridges, NASA's technical lead for acoustics, “is to develop a passenger supersonic production aircraft that meets current noise standards. This is a big problem because airport noise is one of the main stumbling blocks for supersonic commercial airliners. ”