Why build a quiet supersonic aircraft?
X-59 will test the technology to fly faster, quieter, and more efficiently.
The data gathered from the X-59 will pave the way for commercial supersonic flight over land.
The full name of the X-59 is the X-59 QueSST which stands for "Quiet SuperSonic Technology"
Commercial planes aren't allowed to fly faster than the speed of sound over land because they would create sonic booms which are very loud and disruptive to humans and animals.
The X-59 is an experimental aircraft that will eventually lead to supersonic commercial aircraft that will travel much faster than current subsonic commercial aircraft, saving people time in the air.
Right now, the rules say commercial planes can't fly faster than the speed of sound because of concerns about sonic booms. The X-59 is designed to reduce sonic booms to a quiet thump.
The X-59 QueSST aircraft is only part of the mission.
The X-59 will eventually fly over several cities in the U.S. to help NASA produce and collect data on sound levels and the reaction of humans to the quieter "sonic thump."
An artist's view of what the X-59 flying over a city will look like.