I HAD BEEN EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Did You Hear That? NASA Orders A Boomless Supersonic Jet.

NASA has just commissioned Lockheed Martin to design and build a new supersonic jet that could cut existing air travel times in half. In fact, if you flew one between, say, Milwaukee and Chicago, you might arrive before you left.

The new X-craft is called the LBFD for Low Boom Flight Demonstrator and it’s scheduled to fly by 2022. NASA awarded the $247.5 million contract this week.

It came only two weeks after President Trump signed the massive federal budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. Trump said the new plane “would open a new market for U.S. companies to build faster commercial airliners, creating jobs and cutting cross-country flight times in half.” It contained full funding.

Before flying commercially, NASA and Lockheed Martin must convince the Federal Aviation Administration and the International Civil Aviation Organization that they’ve reduced a supersonic jet’s loud boom to a softer, muffled one.

Not quite “90 minutes from New York to Paris,” but it would certainly be usable on far more routes than the Concorde was.