Lockheed Martin to Build NASA's Next X-Plane

hello I’m JD Harrington public affairs officer for NASA’s Aeronautics research Mission Directorate I’d like to welcome you today to this news conference where we will announce the agency’s plans for the next experimental aircraft or explain otherwise known is the low boom flight demonstrator or lb FD before we begin a few items to discuss there will be multiple segments in this news conference the first thing we’ll only involve one person who will come up make some brief remarks and then announce who will build the next X plane so we’re leading right from the start after that will show a brief video from NASA’s associate administrator who really wanted to be here today but unfortunately had a prior engagement down in Florida yesterday you might have watched it launch to the ISS the next segment I’ll bring up a representative from the vendor that’s going to build or explain and finally I’ll invite still a few more people up to the panel to answer any and all questions you might have about the low boom flight demonstrator now this telecon is limited to just one hour with this basic rundown I’d like to introduce and bring to the podium dr Jay wanshan associate administrator of NASA’s Aeronautics research Mission Directorate welcome Oni thank you all for coming to this news conference today is really history-making day because we are announcing the winner of the Logan flight demonstrator contract with this announcement NASA is really opening a new era the 24th century explain Erin throughout last century NASA as we all know NASA has flown many explains in partnership with the US Air Force in our US industry achieving amazing breakthroughs in aviation I’m so happy and excited to announce today our long tradition absorbing the toughest problems of flight through explains continues in a moment I will announce the name of the NASA’s new partner that has one two hundred forty seven point five million dollars NASA contract to design and build a supersonic explain this piloted explained will be built specifically to fly technologies that reduce the loudness of a sonic boom to their oboe gentle firm you heard at the beginning that’s illustrative it’s not a scientifically generated sound but it’s illustrative sound so we will fly this explained at supersonic speeds overland but quietly we apply fly it over a select US cities and ask the people living and working in those communities to tell us what they heard if anything we will provide the scientifically collected human response data to the FAA in international civil aviation organization or ICAO so that they can use the data to change the current rule that completely bans civil supersonic flights over land when the rule is changed the door will open to an aviation industry ready to enter new supersonic market in our country in around the world this X plane is a critical step closer to that exciting future there are so many people at NASA who have put in their best effort to get us to this point I want to thank all of them for their efforts and I think it is appropriate to call out the source evaluation board for the outstanding job to chair and the chief procurement officer with us today to celebrate the outstanding job I believe today is the new beginning for NASA Aeronautics people enjoying affordable

quiet supersonic flights in the future would say April 3rd 2018 was the day it all began therefore it is super exciting for me to announce our new partner the winner of the contract Lockheed Martin aeronautics company Palmdale California congratulations as JD mentioned our acting administrator Robert Lightfoot who has been real champion of this effort is unable to be here with us but sends this message hey folks I’m so sorry I couldn’t be with you today on this exciting event just about two years ago former administrator Charlie Bolden joined the NASA Aeronautics team to announce the winner of a contract to develop the preliminary design for this low boom supersonic flight demonstrator now I have the privilege of witnessing this next milestone on my watch just about two months ago I unveiled our FY 19 budget a new agency strategic plan both were framed by the phrase exploration it’s what we do I apply this credo just as strongly to our work in aeronautics the drive to explore ways to make flight more efficient led to NASA develop technologies being on board every commercial aircraft flying today and now the drive to explore solving the challenges of the sonic boom can lead to just as far-reaching an impact possibly enabling commercial supersonic flight over land anywhere in the world years of NASA research from all four Aeronautics centers have brought us to this day exploring the science of sonic booms flying modified aircraft to test methods for quieting the sonic gun trying out new ideas in wind tunnels taking advantage of new concepts and computational simulations now we are hard at work achieving this next big mission this time even with others in the NASA family like Kennedy and Johnson Space Center’s they’re supportive flight campaigns in their neighborhoods this low boom supersonic demonstration mission the x-plane and the community flights to come is truly a game changer NASA and the nation will enjoy watching this much-anticipated aircraft take form during the next couple of years and I look forward to feeling the excitement all and pride when I see it take to the skies for the first time so congratulations j1 congratulations to the low boom flight demonstration mission team that NASA Ames Armstrong Glenn and Langley for creating the technologies to make this possible and congratulations to the newest member of the low boom team Lockheed Martin aeronautics company the great aviation transformation begins today that was Robert Lightfoot NASA’s Acting Administrator on lb FD I’d like to bring to the stage now Dave Richardson who’s the director for air vehicle design and technologies from Lockheed Martin’s skunk works for a few remarks Lockheed Martin is honored by this to be awarded this opportunity to work with NASA its historic centers as well as it’s amazing people in developing the low boom flight demonstrator this is a experimental research aircraft this is really the first I think for a manned experimental research aircraft for NASA for I think a generation so that makes it exciting but I think what else is really exciting about this is that it joins the the annals of other historic explains that have in history that have pushed back the frontiers of aviation technology science innovation but we’re talking earlier about as we’re looking at the airplane I think one of the the most important things is that it will inspire the imagination of generations to come as these other explains did meet when I was a kid there have been people as we’ve talked about this airplane and we’ve showcased it during the last two years of development that have asked questions like where the passengers fit or again Lockheed Martin we do defense contracts and people have said well where the missiles go thinking that this is maybe about acoustic stealth or something like that I want to be clear that this airplane much like the the classic bell x-1 or the the North American x-15 this is a purpose-built experimental research aircraft it is not

a prototype for a supersonic business jet it is not a prototype for some weapon system or it is not a derivative or a modification of some other existing airplane NASA gave very specific and unique requirements for this aircraft and this aircraft was designed from a clean sheet to perform one safety of the pilot but there’s some performance parameters in the the low boom characteristics and is that low boom characteristic that I think is is is really important in understanding that it’s not about making a new airplane for airplane sake although I love airplanes like all these explains and to NASA’s tenets it’s about the data that will be correct collected jae-hwan talked about that earlier about this aircraft having data taken over test ranges as well as in communities and it’s that data that is used then to shape the future just like these other explains in the past they they generated data and and that data is the data that we use today as we design aircraft this data will be used to inform decisions that are made as well as set guidelines for future commercial supersonic aviation and to that extent we’re really thrilled to be part of this it was mentioned that this is day one actually this goes back probably for some 50 years and the efforts that have been made to bring a supersonic Overland flight in the United States and across the world for for NASA again it’s just decades and decades and all that technology has been brought onboard this aircraft as well as processes and tool sets that have been developed by NASA for Lockheed we’ve been at this for a little over twenty five years and again all of those things that we have been working on as far as technologies processes concepts have all been leveraged in the design of this low boom flight demonstrator to that end we’re very confident as we go forward from here in the design that we have in being able to achieve that low boom signature to deliver this aircraft to fly in 2021 that’s a little a little over two years away early in 2021 I think that it will go by really fast and it’ll go by really slow I think always a lot more hair in the time between now and then but again we’re we’re excited about this I can’t emphasize enough how thrilled we are at Lockheed Martin to be working with NASA to continue working with NASA to to realize this vehicle and have it fly in the next several years so thank you very much thanks Dave as we get ready for the Q&A session I need to bring up still three more people to the podium for the QA once they make while they’re making their way up here we’ll let you watch this short video on the below boom flight demonstrator good stuff we’re really excited about this I’d like to welcome our panelists on the stage right now first we have ed Wagner program director for NASA’s integrated aviation systems program at NASA headquarters here in Washington DC he’s responsible for ensuring the low boom flight demonstrators built on time and on budget and can also talk about lb-ft role in our MDS overall portfolio next ed we have Peter Cohen project manager for NASA’s commercial SuperSonics technology project from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia peter is a NASA’s main point of contact for all community research community response research that lb-ft will help conduct next to Peter we have another Peter Peter Joseph etus I hope I pronounced that properly

who’s the low boom flight demonstrator program manager on the Lockheed Martin side he’s based out of the company skunk works facility in Palmdale California welcome gentlemen we’re now going to start the question and answer session we have several reporters here in the room as well as many on the telephone bridge and we’re also going to take questions from social media from the general public now because we have so many people that are involved we will need to limit everyone to one question with one follow-up and once everyone’s had a chance to ask the question we’ll start from the beginning once again I asked that everyone identify yourself your media affiliation and please direct your question to a specific panelist if possible to eliminate any confusion for those dialing in push the star one keys on your telephone to be placed in the queue and for social media use the hashtag ask NASA to ask your question and with that let’s get started anyone from the room here have a question all right we have one question here yes thank you Tom Ryan with eres Miss America congratulations and good luck on the project I was wondering have you done any work on the community response planning I know you sought to build a plane but response of people who are gonna be nearer the because the boom rolls for 40 kilometers in either direction so you’ll have to plan out where this is gonna happen have you planned out where you will do the test flights eventually so we’ve NASA has been working quite some time on planning and Risk Reduction for the community response testing phase that will take place we’ve done tests at NASA Armstrong using an f-18 and a unique dive maneuver that creates something that sounds like a low boom sound to start to test how you do surveys how you how you measure the the noise how you record the information we’re planning a risk reduction test in the near future over a larger community again using that f-18 dive maneuver both people that are not experienced with the sound as the community as the aircraft is being built in parallel we will be planning in detail the community response testing and we’ll be working with the international community to make sure we get the survey questions that will satisfy the needs of those regulatory bodies we’ll be working with local authorities and national authorities to to get the permissions or the you know that are required before we fly supersonic over land and we’ll be selecting the communities but we have not it’s elected any particular community yet we will be surveying large numbers of people we’re talking about as you mentioned it’s 40 kilometers wide our basic mission calls for a 50 by 50 foot 50 by 50 square mile test area so that’s a lot of people to survey but that’s the kind of data that we want to get to ensure that we’ve got a good representation of the population that will be potentially exposed to supersonic over flight just to kind of piggyback on what Peter said so it’s really important that the data that we obtain is representative of a wide diversity of communities because that’s that’s who we’re going to be exposed to this sound and so we’ll be flying over medium-sized cities large cities urban areas small towns urban populations as well as rural populations so that when we gather these data and we look at it it will be representative of the diversity of the populations that will be exposed to the sounds that’s really important to us to make sure that we capture all of those data all right thanks that we’re now going to the phone bridge I believe we have Alan Boyle from geek wire on yes hello I’m Alan Boyle with key choir I wanted to follow up on that question maybe you could talk a little bit about the time frame I know you’re supposed to start flying in 2021 how long do you expect the test period to last and will you be using data from experiments such as the flights that were flown with Honeywell or is this strictly based on Lockheed Martin technology so the plan is for the first flight for the Librium flight demonstrator to be in fiscal year 21 the summer of 2000 21 after the first flight there’ll be a flight clearance phase will will prove that the airplane safe to fly and that it meets the mission performance following that phase they’ll be what we call the acoustic validation phase where we’ll find out does the

those thing aircraft do this the quiet supersonic signature that we expect notice I’m not using the word sonic boom trying to ban that from but everybody’s vocabulary so that is that that’s expected to last through about September of 2022 and immediately following that we will conduct our first community response test will pretty much have that ready to go that test will be conducted flown from NASA Armstrong but we’ll take place in a community in the southern southwestern US that’s not normally exposed to sonic booms we plan to do about to community response tests per year we’re looking to get a total of four to six total tests again as I’d mentioned to get that good representative representative database of cities towns and in rural areas in across the United States as far as the technology goes you know the the shape of the aircraft was was developed by Lockheed Martin based on work done with NASA in the past so that I guess is there that that’s their piece we will be using flight planning software that’s that will be very important for getting the exposure the sonic boom exposure that we want we haven’t really decided whether or not we’ll need a display such as the Honeywell and Rockwell activities that were recently sponsored by NASA under an NR a a cockpit display of the boom but we will have flight planning and flight management software on the airplane to enable us to fly the missions and get the boom exposure levels that we want to have so I guess one additional thing these these tests will last about three years we think and are structured to mesh up with key international meetings where we’ll provide these data for the International rule makers so it’s really important that we stay on schedule that we begin these tests in 23 early 23 when we hope then fly 23 24 25 and being work working with both the US community through the FAA and the international community to make sure we’re providing the right data at the right time thanks Peter once again if you have a question here in the room just raise your hand if you’re on the phone bank you can push the star one key and you can use asknasa on social media right now I have to admit I can’t do everything myself I have a partner in crime that’s helping with helping me with social media I’d like to introduce statio massingill do we have any social media questions we do we have question from Facebook is NASA building a commercial supersonic prototype aircraft Joey say it in unison no as Dave as Dave explained this is this is a this is an explained experimental aircraft design for a specific purpose to collect data about low noise supersonic flight and collect data about public response to supersonic flight the technology and the information that comes out of this program could eventually be used in a commercial product but this is not a prototype for a commercial aircraft alright thanks Peter once again we’re going back to social if anybody has any questions don’t hesitate to raise your hand we’ll come to the audience here in just a moment patient one more question from Facebook you call this an X plane when will it get an X number and what is the process so essentially that’s the the mission designation series for aircraft the F the F the B the X is handled by the DoD now that we’ve selected Lockheed as a contractor it is they actually the manufacturer of the product the aircraft that applies for that designation with the military NASA will support that application it will be reviewed by the DoD and an explained designation will be issued most likely fairly quickly we expect certainly by the end of the summer to have a next number all right we’ve got one on one question from the audience here great great work Aviation Week here can I just ask looking at the aircraft here is there any difference significant difference between the design that you ended up with at the end of PDR and what you will build actually what you see here today in front of you was produced about a year and a half ago and the design that we showed that the polymer design review last summer is almost identical one of the things I with like complement ass on is they have established very good requirements mission requirements for this airplane

and those requirements have have stayed stable throughout this entire process which has not changed the design and therefore has allowed the whole program to proceed exactly as planned and that’s a complan complement to NASA because that’s rarely the case typically you have a lot of design changes as you learn in over the last two two years we have not seen that thanks Peter one last chance we got any questions here in the audience or in the media telecon okay another question here Caroline Tucker with NBC own stations and I have two quick questions one when is the build-out on this going to begin the construction of this experimental plane and also how do you want commercial entities to end up using this data in the future I’ll take the first part as far as one we’re going to start building it we will start immediately right now in taking the preliminary design that was developed last summer and now taking that to a details not detail design and then moving forward with the actual manufacturing which will start in earnest approximately next summer as far as the second part of your question Peter probably better suited answer that so if you look at the way aircraft are certified today there are regulations that that describe how the aircraft must perform both in terms of safety and the best example is noise all aircraft are certified to meet a certain noise level so one of the things that we really hope that this data will will give the international community is that noise level so instead of saying no supersonic flight over land the FAA or that will say to the to the manufacturer if your airplane produces a sound level less than X dB it’s okay to fly over land all you have to do is prove to us through a certification process that your aircraft meets that level and we understand the types of guidelines that are needed in shaping the vehicle so you can look at this you can see you know this is long it’s slender it’s done as a system it’s not you know it’s not a fuselage then somebody put a wing on it and somebody put canards on it horizontal tail it was done as the system so that when you can go nose to tail and understand the volumetric changes on all the all the components there and so then when you do that right when you understand those guidelines and design this right and build it right it will be able to fly with significantly less noise signature than what we see today thanks add once again if you’re on the phone bridge and you’d like to ask a question you can push the star one key on your phone to be placed in the queue we’re going back to the phone bridge right now we have Bloomberg’s Tom black on the line Tom hi my question has to do with the the second claim that NASA is talked about when will you make a decision on that is the idea to allow this one to fly and and get it see if it works I guess on the signature before you make that decision or good become it could it come earlier right now right now within the budget guidelines that we have we’re working we’re focused on this vehicle and we’re really excited about this vehicle many other subsonic technologies we’re working and trying to trying to understand the best way to validate those technologies in a realistic environment that most of the time it’s flight because they’ve been tested in wind tunnels that we’ve done computational analyses but as far as specific plans for another experimental V Fulop experimental vehicle we’re not working that right now right now we’re focused on making sure that we’ve got the resources in place to build the low boom flight demonstrator that we’ve got the the monitoring and control piece in place so that will stay on time on budget and that where while we’re working these other technologies we’re looking at what those opportunities we’ll be in the future as we’re successful on this demonstrator what they’ll be in the future to demonstrate those other subsonic technologies that we want to test thanks ed okay we’re gonna go around the room one more time any questions here okay we have one more question over here those left hey it’s Kerry Lynch with aviation International News I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the plane it’s not itself the size of it how fast you’re hoping to get it to go if you’ve looked at what engines you’ve looked at I can take that the airplane is 94 feet long

it will fly at 1.4 Mach at 55,000 feet what you see in front of you as far as the airplane is a brand new shape everything else within the airplane is existing commercially off-the-shelf or salvaged from other aircraft that was one of the guiding principles that we had in designing this airplane is to make it as affordable as possible so the only thing is that is new is the shape the canopy is off a back seat of a t-38 the landing gear is from an f-16 and the engine is a General Electric for 14400 and a lot of the subsystems have come off of either f-16 or f-18 aircraft there’s really no new development of any major components as part of this effort thanks Peter we’re going to go back to the phone lines but in the meantime if you have a question on social media you can use asknasa ask NASA the hashtag ask NASA and I will get your question here as soon as we can so those on the phone bridge by all means push the star one key and we’ll get you in the queue right now we’re going back to the phone line we have mark Sellinger from the defense daily hi thank you can you tell us whether there were any other bidders for this contract and if so why Lockheed was selected and also what is the next milestone for the program is a critical design review and if so when yeah so we ended up with one bidder we had three inquiries I think to the request for proposals and we provided them preliminary design data so that everybody there would be a level playing field while we only had one bidder we went through an exhaustive analysis and evaluation of that bid and quite honestly the the bid that Lockheed Martin put together was deemed excellent in every aspect that we looked at so we after we went through the initial evaluation of the bid we went out with a series of questions for Lockheed Martin to respond to the responses again were just excellent and so they clarified some some places where it wasn’t exactly clear from from the proposal but from a government point of view we think we’re getting a bargain so we laid out requirements withheld those requirements this vehicle meets those requirements and at from our point of view a very affordable price so we’ve got the budget we’ve got the resources to do this we think that Lockheed Martin will be an incredible partner and bringing expertise to the table to enable us to meet our schedule and and cost requirements for this vehicle and we’re convinced and what we’ve seen so far that this is going to meet the requirements that we need to provide the data to the regulatory community that will allow us to change the noise standards as we have them in place right now thanks for the question mark and programmatically the next step is a contract kickoff meeting which should which will take place in May followed by a Delta preliminary design review planned for the July timeframe and then commercial design review is planned for September of 2019 thanks Peter we’re going back to the social media and Asia Twitter user Amanda got would like to know what is the science behind this project that allows for the low boom as opposed to a regular one and Part two could the aircraft be sized up to accommodate more passive I guess I’ll take that one so essentially a sonic boom happens because the air does not know that the airplane is coming because the airplane is traveling faster than sound and pressure only travels at the speed of sound all pressure changes that take place as the air tries to flow around a supersonic aircraft take place through shock waves and there’s shock waves on the nose of the aircraft on the wings on the engine Inlet on the canopy all those shock waves are different strengths and they’re kind of randomly positioned along the length of the airplane so what happens is because they’re different strengths they start to catch up with one another and they rapidly coalesce into just the two pressure pulses that you here as a bang-bang of a sonic boom so in Simmons in simplest terms sonic boom reduction is controlling the shape of controlling the strength and the position of the shockwaves to prevent that coalescence so each wave travels out from the aircraft it travels towards the ground the only thing that happens to it is it attenuates they tend not to merge and become that stronger stronger wave form so that by the time

you reach the ground the sound is attenuated to a thump or a double thump instead of instead of a boom let me just go a little further as to why why this works during a different effort with NASA back in 20011 called n + 2 we actually demonstrated that we could predict the methods for predicting that boom and then testing it in a wind tunnel and validating that the predictions were actually very much in lockstep for the results which really allowed the confidence to be built to a point that now we thought we could actually go forward where NASA could go forward with a full-scale airplane and achieve the noise levels that it will establish for this X plane Peter Peter makes a very important point when we started the idea was not to do an X plane the idea was to prove that we had the technology that could enable the design of a quiet civil supersonic aircraft so we tested that in a wind tunnel then we said about well how are we going to prove that technology and how are we going to get this key data so that’s how we came up with the X plane if you look at the features of it the length the slenderness the position of the components some of the unique smaller lifting surfaces such as the Kanade and the and the small t tail though it’s all about positioning the shockwaves but in the end that type of information will aid in the design of a civil supersonic aircraft but you wouldn’t physically scale this airplane up big enough to put passengers in it you take a new design approach but what this what this will allow us to do is validate some of the methodologies that we have in place it will allow us then to scale it up and design a vehicle that would be large enough to carry passengers so we will be doing flight testing we’ve got computational methodologies and of course experimental methods that all three of those working together builds the confidence in any of the designs that we’re doing so now we’re gonna have something that we’ve got true flight test data on from an acoustic point of view as well as an aerodynamic point of view structures all of these things then that will all go together when someone comes along after the rules are changed someone comes along and can make that business case and is ready to design a commercial vehicle thanks that and with that I think we’re gonna close today’s news conference I’d like to thank the panelists and Asia for their time today for more information about NASA’s low boom flight demonstrator or any other NASA Aero related project or for any other NASA project for that matter you can go to the web at www.greatinternetmarketingtraining.com