Lockheed Martin is to build NASA’s first clean-sheet manned X-plane in decades, to demonstrate that sonic booms can be reduced to levels that could enable lifting the ban on civil supersonic flight over land. The award of a $247.5 million contract to Lockheed’s Skunk Works to build the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD) is a milestone for NASA’s revamped strategy for aeronautics research. Unveiled in 2015, this directive called for a return to flight research, and ...

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