NASA on Monday announced a contract award to Lockheed Martin Corp's unit for the preliminary design of a "low boom" flight demonstration aircraft.

NASA's Commercial Supersonic Technology Project had asked industry teams to submit design concepts for a test aircraft that can fly at supersonic speeds, creating a supersonic "heartbeat" — a soft thump rather than the disruptive boom currently associated with supersonic flight.
NASA said it selected a team led by Lockheed Martin's unit, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co, to complete a preliminary design for Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST).
This is the first in a series of 'X-planes' in NASA's New Aviation Horizons initiative, introduced in the agency's fiscal 
year 2017 budget.

Lockheed Martin will receive about $27 million ($20 million US) over 17 months for QueSST preliminary design work, NASA said.
Depending on funding, the aircraft will start flight campaign around 2020, NASA said.