NASA’s first purpose-built, supersonic X-plane in decades will soon take to the skies. A single pilot is to fly the 99.7-foot-long, 29.5-foot-wide aircraft powered by a single jet engine. Its design research speed will be Mach 1.4, or 925 mph, flying at 55,000 feet. NASA will use the experimental X-59 to provide data that could change the rules that ban supersonic flight over land by proving a sonic boom can be reduced to a barely-audible sonic thump heard on the ground.
Quesst: The Vehicle News
Stay up-to-date with the latest content from the Quesst mission on the X-59 aircraft.
Sound never looked so good! Using a special handheld camera, researchers at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California,…
ABOUT THE X-59
Specifications on the X-59 Research Aircraft
This “four-view” of the X-59 research aircraft provides specifications of the piloted vehicle that is being built by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. The X-59 is an experimental aircraft only; it is not a prototype design for a commercial airliner and will never carry passengers. Its unique shape and set of technologies reduce the loudness of a sonic boom reaching the ground to that of a gentle thump. Starting in 2024, it will be flown above select U.S. communities to collect data from residents responding to the X-59’s sonic thump.
NASA has reached a major milestone. The team putting together NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology airplane at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works factory in Palmdale, California, finished major work on the wing. The wing section is considered the structural backbone of the aircraft.
The X-59 team closed parts of the wing’s interior that are intended to never be touched again by human hands. Moving at a steady pace, technicians continue to work on many parts of the aircraft simultaneously. The forebody section of the aircraft will carry the pilot needed to fly the aircraft and all the avionics. The aft part of the aircraft will hold an F414 GE engine and other critical systems.
The assembly process will continue as the team pushes to the next major milestone, which is merging all three major sections of the aircraft in the spring of 2021.