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Why is supersonic commercial travel not prevalent? Simple: Noise. Air transport would be a lot different today if the Concorde didn’t produce a sonic boom when in motion, in turn scaring the shit out of everyone below. Instead of encouraging everyone to buy earplugs, NASA wants to tackle the issue head on. This is the next NASA X-Plane, a supersonic aircraft that reduces the sonic boom to a “gentle thump.” Think less “Holy shit the world is ending” and more “Did someone just close their car door?” Lockhead Martin scored the $247.5 million contract, and the plan is to produce the first aircraft by 2021. The plane will fly at 55,000 feet and reach speeds of 940 mph. Test flights are scheduled to begin in 2022 over select U.S. cities. 

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