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Boom rolls out first supersonic test aircraft XB-1
Thursday, 8 October 2020
Getting the XB-1 airborne and through the sound barrier will be a major step towards the development of Boom's Overture supersonic jet. Flight testing will be carbon-neutral, the company says.

Boom Supersonic has unveiled its now fully-assembled supersonic demonstrator, XB-1.

The XB-1 will now complete its ongoing, extensive ground test program before heading to Mojave, California in 2021 for flight test. At the same time, the company will finalise Overture’s propulsion system and conduct wind tunnel tests to validate aircraft design. When XB-1 breaks the sound barrier in flight, Boom will be finalising the design of Overture, whose own rollout is on track for 2025. Boom says that the flight test program will be 100% carbon-neutral.

“Boom continues to make progress towards our founding mission - making the world dramatically more accessible,” says Blake Scholl, Boom founder and CEO. “XB-1 is an important milestone towards the development of our commercial airliner, Overture, making sustainable supersonic flight mainstream and fostering human connection.”

The XB-1’s 71-foot-long fuselage has been optimally shaped for high-speed aerodynamic efficiency. The carbon-composite airframe maintains its strength and rigidity, even under the high temperatures and stresses of supersonic flight, while the delta wing balances low-speed stability at takeoff and landing with high-speed efficiency.

Propulsion is provided by three J85-15 engines, designed by General Electric, provide more than 12,000 pounds of thrust, allowing XB-1 to fly at breakthrough supersonic speeds.

A high-resolution video camera and cockpit display give pilots a virtual window through the nose, providing superior runway visibility for landing.

The XB-1 includes 21 flight hardware components manufactured by Velo3D's Sapphire 3D metal printer.

"Aviation hardware is especially difficult to manufacture with 3D metal printing, due to challenging aerodynamic designs that must be balanced with superior durability and high temperature requirements," said Benny Buller, CEO and Founder of Velo3D. "Velo3D's technology allows the production of lightweight, complex designs for mission-critical applications in the toughest operating conditions. Our partnership with Boom is truly an advancement for the metal AM industry, and XB-1 supersonic aircraft is a game-changer for the aviation industry."

Boom Supersonic and Velo3D announced a partnership in 2019 to manufacture complex flight hardware to build XB-1, and ran a series of qualification trials on Velo3D's Sapphire system. The printed Titanium parts are used for engine hardware, the environmental control system, and structural components. Characteristics of the geometric designs include tall, thin walls with high aspect ratios, which are inherently difficult to manufacture with either traditional processes such as welding and casting, or even most existing 3Dprinting technologies. Velo3D's unique SupportFree printing process enables unprecedented design freedom and quality control, eliminating manufacturing constraints to innovation in aircraft design.

Speaking at the roll-out were: NASA leaders and astronauts: Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden, Jr, USMC (Ret.), 12th NASA Administrator and Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson, USN (Ret.); Chief Concorde pilot for British Airways, Captain Mike Bannister; Supersonic: The Design and Lifestyle of Concorde author Lawrence Azerrad; U.S. Air Force Brig. General Ryan Britton; Chairman of Japan Airlines, Yoshiharu Ueki; Strategy Director at Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace, Simon Carlisle; Founder of Prometheus Fuels, Rob McGinnis, a company producing net zero carbon jet fuel, an evolution beyond low-carbon sustainable fuels; Boom investors, Sam Altman, Emerson Collective, John Collison, Reid Hoffman, Jeff Holden, Greg McAdoo and Sir Michael Moritz; and Boom advisors, Dr. Ray O. Johnson and Dr. Lourdes Maurice.

Contact details from our directory:
Velo3D Additive Manufacturing, Design Services
Boom Supersonic Airframer
GE Aircraft Engines Turbofan Engines, Turbojet Engines, Turboprop Engines, Turboshaft Engines
Related aircraft programs:
Boom XB-1
Related directory sectors:
Metal Processes