NASA is seeking proposals for the development of its supersonic X-plane, with plans to begin work as early as next year.
The Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) low-boom flight demonstrator aims to produce a much lower 'boom' than other supersonic aircraft, and NASA is hoping to see the first flight tests take place in 2021, according to Aviation Week.
Lockheed Martin has been working on the preliminary design, with hopes to move on to build the demonstrator, but NASA has now opened the door for other companies to submit their own designs as well.
The space agency is hoping to achieve a sonic boom 60 dBA lower than other supersonic aircraft, such as Concorde, according to Aviation Week.
NASA plans to release the full request for proposals in August, following the recent draft request.
The space agency is looking for plans to develop, build, and flight test an X-plane, and will award a contract in 2018.
Later this month, Lockheed Martin will wrap up its 17-month, $20 million contract with NASA for the preliminary design of the low-boom demonstrator concept.
The design will be put through a four-day review, and bidders will then have the option to use this for the demonstrator’s detailed design, according to Aviation Week.
Lockheed Martin, however, is hoping to secure the top spot.
‘We are ready to go on building that demonstrator,’ said Rob Weiss, Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs executive vice president and general manager, at the AIAA Aviation 2017 forum, Aviation Week reports.