Category Archives: February

February 2016 News Releases

NASA Begins Work to Build a Quieter Supersonic Passenger Jet

February 29, 2016
RELEASE 16-022
NASA Begins Work to Build a Quieter Supersonic Passenger Jet

This is an artist’s concept of a possible Low Boom Flight Demonstration Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) X-plane design. The award of a preliminary design contract is the first step towards the possible return of supersonic passenger travel – but this time quieter and more affordable.

Credits: Lockheed Martin

The return of supersonic passenger air travel is one step closer to reality with NASA’s award of a contract for the preliminary design of a “low boom” flight demonstration aircraft. This is the first in a series of ‘X-planes’ in NASA’s New Aviation Horizons initiative, introduced in the agency’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced the award at an event Monday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

“NASA is working hard to make flight greener, safer and quieter – all while developing aircraft that travel faster, and building an aviation system that operates more efficiently,” said Bolden. “To that end, it’s worth noting that it’s been almost 70 years since Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 as part of our predecessor agency’s high speed research. Now we’re continuing that supersonic X-plane legacy with this preliminary design award for a quieter supersonic jet with an aim toward passenger flight.”

NASA selected a team led by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, California, to complete a preliminary design for Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST). The work will be conducted under a task order against the Basic and Applied Aerospace Research and Technology (BAART) contract at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

After conducting feasibility studies and working to better understand acceptable sound levels across the country, NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project asked industry teams to submit design concepts for a piloted test aircraft that can fly at supersonic speeds, creating a supersonic “heartbeat” — a soft thump rather than the disruptive boom currently associated with supersonic flight.

“Developing, building and flight testing a quiet supersonic X-plane is the next logical step in our path to enabling the industry’s decision to open supersonic travel for the flying public,” said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission.

Lockheed Martin will receive about $20 million over 17 months for QueSST preliminary design work. The Lockheed Martin team includes subcontractors GE Aviation of Cincinnati and Tri Models Inc. of Huntington Beach, California.

The company will develop baseline aircraft requirements and a preliminary aircraft design, with specifications, and provide supporting documentation for concept formulation and planning. This documentation would be used to prepare for the detailed design, building and testing of the QueSST jet. Performance of this preliminary design also must undergo analytical and wind tunnel validation.

In addition to design and building, this Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) phase of the project also will include validation of community response to the new, quieter supersonic design. The detailed design and building of the QueSST aircraft, conducted under the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s Integrated Aviation Systems Program, will fall under a future contract competition.

NASA’s 10-year New Aviation Horizons initiative has the ambitious goals of reducing fuel use, emissions and noise through innovations in aircraft design that departs from the conventional tube-and-wing aircraft shape.

The New Aviation Horizons X-planes will typically be about half-scale of a production aircraft and likely are to be piloted. Design-and-build will take several years with aircraft starting their flight campaign around 2020, depending on funding.

For more information about NASA’s aeronautics research, visit:


NASA news releases are written and distributed by NASA and USA in Space reprinted here to allow all access to it and to provide an archive of the information.

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly Talks One-Year Mission in Final In-Space News Conference

February 22, 2016
NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly Talks One-Year Mission in Final In-Space News Conference

Scott Kelly

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly inside the cupola of the International Space Station, a special module that provides a 360-degree viewing of the Earth and the station. Kelly will return to Earth on March 1, marking completion of a 340-day mission in space.

Credits: NASA

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s final news conference from orbit will air live on NASA Television at 12:05 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 25.

The 30-minute news conference will take place less than a week before Kelly returns to Earth from the International Space Station, marking the completion of a 340-day mission. Media may ask questions from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston or Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as well as by phone.

To attend the briefing at Johnson, media must request credentials from the Johnson newsroom at 281-481-5111 no later than 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. To ask questions by phone, media must call the Johnson newsroom no later than 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. Accreditation for international media is closed for this event.

All media accreditation requests for Kennedy must be submitted by 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24 online at:

All media representatives must present two forms of unexpired legal, government identification to access Kennedy. One form must include a photo, such as a passport or driver’s license. Questions about accreditation should be directed to Jennifer Horner at or 321-867-6598.

Kelly launched to the space station March 27, 2015, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and is set to return on Tuesday, March 1. He will land in Kazakhstan at 11:27 p.m. (10:27 a.m. Kazakhstan time on March 2) with his one-year crewmate, cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, also of Roscosmos. Kelly will return to Houston’s Ellington Field on Wednesday, March 2.

After landing, Kelly will hold the record among U.S. astronauts for cumulative time in space, with 520 days. During their record-setting mission, Kelly and Kornienko participated in a number of studies to provide new insights into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight, which will include the Journey to Mars. Kelly’s twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, participated in parallel twin studies on Earth to help scientists compare the effects on the body and mind in space.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: 

For more information about the International Space Station and its crew, visit:  


NASA news releases are written and distributed by NASA and USA in Space reprinted here to allow all access to it and to provide an archive of the information.