Supersonic commercial flight has been extinct since the Concorde stopped making flights back in 2003. But NASA, of all people, has announced plans to get it back up and, uh, flying, with the NASA QueSST Passenger Jet, hopefully on track to make its first flight in 2020.
The “QueSST” in NASA QueSST Passenger Jet stands for “Quiet Supersonic Technology.” That technology seeks to eliminate one of the signatures of supersonic travel—the sonic boom—and replace it with a sound that, according to NASA, is more akin to a heartbeat. Impressive stuff, and it won’t even wake up the neighbors.
The NASA QueSST Passenger Jet is still in the early development stage, and NASA hasn’t released specs on how many passengers it will accommodate or what it’s maximum altitude will be, but they are hoping to get off the ground by 2020. In the meantime, you can get a lot more info from NASA’s press release on the project right here.