NASA eyes supersonic passenger planes that could fly NYC to London in 90 minutes

Sweta Gupta
Sweta GuptaSep 05, 2023 | 13:53

NASA eyes supersonic passenger planes that could fly NYC to London in 90 minutes

Boeing commercial passenger plane designed for high supersonic speeds (Photo Credits: NASA)

Picture this: You start your day at the Empire State Building in New York City, and by evening tea time, you're sipping Earl Grey in London. How's that for a jet-setter's dream come true?

Well, it might just be possible, thanks to NASA's (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) out-of-this-world ambitions!


  • Usually, commercial passenger planes take a lengthy 7-8 hours to hop across the pond from New York to London.
  • But remember the Concorde? That sleek bird could dash from one side of the Atlantic to the other in a mere 3 hours.
  • Now, NASA has its eyes on a groundbreaking idea that could potentially trim that cross-continental jaunt down to just 90 minutes.
  • Today's jumbo jets zip along at about 965 kilometers per hour, but NASA isn't satisfied with the status quo.
  • They're daydreaming about supersonic passenger planes that could break the sound barrier, flying anywhere from Mach 2 to Mach 4, which translates to an eye-popping 2469 to 4939 kilometers per hour in their blog

And guess what? Their cosmic research suggests that there's a possibility for this speedy travel on roughly 50 well-established flight routes.

NASA's Blog


The plan

  • The United States and several other countries have rules against supersonic flights over land.

  • So, the study mainly looked at flights over the ocean, especially busy routes across the Pacific.

  • At the same time, NASA is tinkering with designs, like its experimental X-59 aircraft, which can zip through the skies at supersonic speeds with less noise.


We conducted similar concept studies over a decade ago at Mach 1.6-1.8, and those resulting roadmaps helped guide NASA research efforts since, including those leading to the X-59
- Lori Ozoroski, project manager for NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project

NASA's Advanced Air Vehicle Program is gearing up for the next stage of high-speed travel research.


12-month contract

  • They're giving out two 12-month contracts to companies to come up with ideas and technology plans,
  • These plans will delve into the possibilities of air travel at high speeds, lay out the challenges and risks, and highlight the technologies that could turn supersonic travel into reality.
  • One team, led by Boeing and joined by Exosonic, GE Aerospace, Georgia Tech Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, Rolls-Royce North American Technologies, and others, will take on this mission.
  • The second team, led by Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems, will team up with Blue Ridge Research and Consulting, Boom Supersonic, and Rolls-Royce North American Technolo.


So, get ready for some exciting developments in the world of super-fast flying!

Last updated: September 05, 2023 | 15:56
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