Connect with us

Aerospace

NASA, Lockheed Martin Reveal X-59 Quiet Supersonic Aircraft

NASA, Lockheed Martin Reveal X-59 Quiet Supersonic Aircraft

The X-59 quiet supersonic aircraft, developed by NASA and Lockheed Martin, made its official debut on Friday.

NASA hopes to collect data from this unique experimental aircraft that could transform air travel and lead to the development of a new class of commercial aircraft capable of exceeding the speed of sound.

Advertisement

NASA’s Quest mission, which aims to provide information to assist regulators in reconsidering regulations that forbid commercial supersonic flight over land, is centered around the X-59. Due to the disruptive effects of the loud, unexpected sonic booms on the nearby communities, the United States and other countries have prohibited these flights for the past fifty years.

It is anticipated that the X-59 will travel at 925 mph, or 1.4 times the speed of sound. The aircraft’s shape, design, and technologies will enable it to reach these speeds with a less audible thud. After the rollout is finished, the Quesst team will move on to integrated systems testing, engine runs, and X-59 taxi testing to get ready for the aircraft’s first flight.

Advertisement

Later this year, the aircraft is scheduled to make its first flight—a silent supersonic journey—after taking off for the first time. Before transferring the aircraft to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Centre in Edwards, California, which will serve as its base of operations, the Quesst team will carry out a number of the aircraft’s flight tests at Skunk Works.

After the flight tests are finished, NASA will fly the aircraft over several future cities in the United States to gather feedback on the sound the X-59 produces and how people hear it. The Federal Aviation Administration and foreign regulators will receive that data from NASA.

Advertisement

The X-59 is an exclusive test aircraft, not a prototype; its technologies are intended to guide the development of quiet supersonic aircraft in the future. The aircraft’s dimensions—99.7 feet long by 29.5 feet wide—along with the innovations it contains will enable silent supersonic travel. Nearly a third of the X-59’s length is made up of its narrow, tapering nose, which helps to disperse the shock waves that would normally cause a supersonic aircraft to produce a sonic boom.

This arrangement results in the cockpit being nearly halfway down the aircraft’s length and lacking a forward-facing window. The eXternal Vision System, on the other hand, was created by the Quesst team and consists of several high-resolution cameras that feed a 4K monitor in the cockpit.

Advertisement
Advertisement