Suggested Searches

Quesst: The Mission

NASA’s aeronautical innovators are leading a government-industry team to collect data that could make supersonic flight over land possible, dramatically reducing travel time in the United States or anywhere in the world.

An aerial view of the artist illustration of the X-59 in flight over land flying through the clouds.

Mission Overview

The Quesst mission has two goals: 1) design and build NASA’s X-59 research aircraft with technology that reduces the loudness of a sonic boom to a gentle thump to people on the ground; and 2) fly the X-59 over several U.S. communities to gather data on public responses to the sound generated during supersonic flight and deliver that data set to U.S. and international regulators.

Read More About the Mission

NASA's Quesst in Three Parts

The Quesst mission is comprised of three phases: build the X-59 aircraft, test it in the air, and then fly the airplane over communities to survey what residents hear.

Back view of the X-59 tail with a red cover over the engine nozzle. The red plug or covering protects the engine by creating a barrier so that foreign objects cannot enter the engine or engine inlet.

Phase 1: Aircraft Development

2018–2024. NASA anticipates initial flights to prove performance and safety of the X-59 will take about nine months. At the successful conclusion of these flights, NASA will officially take delivery of the aircraft from builder Lockheed Martin.

Young female preparing for a sound test.

Phase 2: Acoustic Validation

2025. NASA will fly the X-59 within the supersonic test range over NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center and Edwards Air Force Base in California to prove the quiet supersonic technology works as designed, aircraft performance is robust in real atmospheric conditions and the X-59 is safe for operations in the National Airspace System.

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

Phase 3: Community Response Testing

2026–2027. The agency will use the X-59 to gather data on how effective the quiet technology is in terms of public acceptance. This will be done by flying over select U.S. cities beginning in 2026 and asking residents to share their response to the sound the X-59 produces.

Quesst: The Mission News

Stay up-to-date with the latest content from Quesst: The Mission.

NASA Grants to Engage Students in Quiet Supersonic Community Overflight
2 min read

NASA has issued new grants to five universities to help develop education plans for the community overflight phase of the…

News Release
NASA Invites You to X-59 Rollout Watch Party
2 min read

It’s almost time for NASA’s supersonic X-59 airplane to make its red, white, and blue public debut, and you’re invited…

NASA Test Piloting Legends Reunite
1 min read

Nils Larson, aerospace engineer and test pilot for NASA’s X-59 aircraft, met up with his former student, Artemis II astronaut…

Image Article
NASA’s Quesst: Reassessing a 50-Year Supersonic Speed Limit
7 min read

NASA will deliver the results to U.S. and international regulators, who will consider new rules that would lift the ban…

NASA Selects Contractor for Quiet Supersonic Flight Community Testing
2 min read

NASA has awarded a contract to Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. of Burlington, Massachusetts, to support a national campaign…

News Release
NASA Awards Contract for X-59 Community Overflight Operations
2 min read

NASA has selected Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, California, to provide support for the community overflight response phase of…

News Release