NASA and Lockheed Martin have introduced the X-59, a supersonic aircraft designed to break the sound barrier without causing the typical loud sonic boom.
The 30-meter-long, 10-meter-wingspan aircraft was officially presented at Lockheed Martin’s legendary Skunk Works site in Palmdale, California. The X-59 will be capable of reaching speeds of 1.4 times the speed of sound, approximately 1,500 kilometers per hour.
“This is a major accomplishment made possible only through the hard work and ingenuity from NASA and the entire X-59 team,” commented NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “NASA’s X-59 will help change the way we travel, bringing us closer together in much less time.”
One notable feature of the X-59 is its unique cockpit placement, located halfway up the fuselage, with the pilot relying on a series of cameras to see what’s happening at the front of the plane. This innovative design aims to reduce the noise impact on the ground, making it quieter than traditional supersonic aircraft. The noise felt on the ground when the technology demonstrator passes at supersonic speed should not exceed 75 dB in theory.
The maiden flight of the X-59 is slated for 2024. After an initial series of test flights, the X-59 will fly over various US cities to assess the noise it produces and how it is perceived by the public. The goal is to gather data to support the use of this technology in commercial aviation.
Fostering a new era of supersonic travel
Lockheed Martin has developed the X-59, an experimental aircraft, in collaboration with NASA as part of the Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) program. The primary objective of this aircraft is to achieve supersonic speeds while generating a subdued sonic…
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