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NASA Aircraft

NASA maintains a fleet of aircraft that enable the agency to conduct its aeronautical research, study our planet, train its astronauts, and otherwise operate its many air and space programs. This page will be a constantly growing and evolving home for information about NASA aircraft past and present.

Two fighter jets now used by NASA for research are seen above the desert from the cockpit window of a third jet.

Current NASA X-Planes

Since the X-1 broke the sound barrier in 1947, X-plane research has resulted in some of the most important and historic developments in flight. That tradition continues today with NASA's current stable of X-planes, each uniquely designed and capable of providing research to help transform specific areas of aviation for the 21st century.

Artist illustration of a smaller commercial airliner flying above the clouds.


To be built in partnership with Boeing, the X-66 will serve as NASA's Sustainable Flight Demonstrator. The goal is to showcase a new aircraft configuration that will help the aviation community achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

NASA's X-59 airplane sits in its hangar with lights shining on it.


Built under contract by Lockheed Martin, the X-59 is the centerpiece of NASA's Quesst mission to collect data that could make commercial supersonic flight over land possible, dramatically reducing air travel time in the United States or anywhere in the world

NASA's all-electric X-57 Maxwell continues to undergo high-voltage ground testing with successful spinning of the propellers under electric power at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. The principal goals of the X-57 Project are to share the X-57 design and airworthiness process with regulators and standards organizations; and to establish the X-57 as a reference platform for integrated approaches of distributed electric propulsion technologies.


Built by modifying an Italian Tecnam P2006T to be powered by an electric propulsion system, since 2016 the X-57 project has shared lessons learned about battery technology, electromagnetic interference, motor controller design, and so much more.

aircraft Flown at armstrong FLIGHT RESEARCH CENTER

Aerodynamics Research Test Bed

NASA’s first all-electric X-plane, the X-57 Maxwell, in its final configuration.

Maxwell all-electric experimental aircraft

Airborne Science Laboratory

High-Altitude Science Aircraft

Aeronautics Research Test Bed

NASA's remotely piloted Global Hawk aircraft will complete a series of flights in February to support the NOAA.

Unmanned Aerial System

Airborne Science Program

NASA's Airborne Science Program, located within the Earth Science Division, is responsible for providing aircraft systems that further science and advance the use of satellite data. A number of NASA aircraft stationed at field centers around the country are available to support the program.

See the List of NASA Aircraft Involved
WB-57F jet
One of NASA’s three WB-57 aircraft that support the agency’s Airborne Science Program is seen here on the ramp at Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
NASA / Norah Moran

Other Aeronautics topics

Artist illustration of the X-59 in flight over a surbuban neighborhood.

Research about flying faster than the speed of sound.

Aerospace Cognitive Engineering Lab Rapid Automation Test Environment; (ACEL-RATE) in N262 showing out-the-window views of San Francisco for UAM UTM Ride Quality Simulation project.

Stories about pioneering the frontiers of 21st century flight.

The Moog SureFly aircraft hovers above Cincinnati Municipal Airport during an acoustic hover test.

All about new ways to get from here to there in the air.

In this image, captured using data from a wind-tunnel test, the red and orange areas represent higher drag, and the green and bl

Learn about research to make aviation more sustainable.

Airplane outside it's gate at the airport.

Read about how NASA is opening up the sky for all.

F-15s on Armstrong Ramp

Information about NASA's fleet of aircraft.

Sunset view of the DC-8 parked on the tarmac is getting inspected.

News about using NASA aircraft to better understand our world.