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Spire Global included in NASA X-59 quiet supersonic flight community testing contract

Spire Global, Inc., a leading provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, has announced that it has been included as a subcontractor in an award contract between Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. (HMMH) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The award supports a national campaign of community overflight tests using NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology research aircraft.

This composite image, which includes an illustration of NASA’s X-59 research aircraft, shows the airplane’s final configuration following years of research and design engineering. The single-pilot aircraft is now under construction at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California. Credits: Lockheed Martin

With a maximum potential value of approximately US$29 million and an eight-year period of performance, the award is a cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. The scope of work focuses on supporting NASA in phases two and three of its Low-Boom Flight Demonstration mission. Phase two will include the preparation and planning for phase three where NASA will fly the X-59 aircraft over communities and ask residents to share their response to the sound the aircraft generates during supersonic flight.


Spire will assist in evaluating the loudness of the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology research aircraft, ultimately helping one of the goals of the mission: reducing the loudness of a sonic boom to that of a gentle thump. (This is identified as about 70 decibels at ground level and on “Mach cutoff” where the boom does not reach the ground.)


Spire will support the contract by providing weather data and forecasting enhanced by data from its satellite constellation. Spire will collect and share data on winds, pressure, humidity and temperature; all factors that play a crucial role in sonic boom wave propagation and potential minimization of noise on the ground.


"As NASA develops supersonic technology and aircraft, we join with them in recognizing the need to lessen the auditory impact on citizens and appreciate the opportunity to support the agency and HMMH on this project,” said Keith E. Johnson, Vice President and General Manager, Federal, Spire Global. “Our industry-leading weather data and forecasting abilities align with the research regarding the reduction of sonic boom impact, and we hope to continue to support these initiatives in the future.”


HMMH Director of Federal Programs and Program Manager for this contract, Kurt M. Hellauer said, “We thank NASA for their confidence in our team and the opportunity to support the agency’s vital work in advancing the science behind supersonic flight and paving the way for new entrants to the National Airspace System.”


NASA will share the community feedback and the X-59 acoustic data collected during the flights to US and international regulators to help inform decisions regarding new sound-based rules for supersonic flight over land.

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