“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,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “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."
Following a successful preliminary design from Lockheed Martin, NASA said it will award an additional contract to finalize and construct the supersonic aircraft. The first manned flight tests could launch as early as 2020, depending on funding, according to the release. The exciting plans come amid similar efforts to get supersonic passenger jets back in the sky such a project spearheaded by Airbus, which means it might not be too long before you're zooming to Hawaii in just a fraction of the time, well, if a seat is even remotely affordable.