NASA’s experimental X-59 aircraft, an ultra-fast aircraft designed for low-noise flight over land, is finally undergoing preparations for what will be its first flight in 2024.
Designed to travel faster than sound while reducing the intensity of the resulting sonic booms, something that has dramatically limited the use of supersonic military and commercial craft, the X-59 was built by the infamous Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works, an engineering think tank with a historically impressive track record of developing advanced aircraft for a myriad of applications.
A previous test flight of the X-59 had been expected to take place sometime earlier this year. However, continued testing and experimentation at the company’s Palmdale, California facility resulted in the delay. Now, it appears that the project is wrapping up those efforts, with an exact date in 2024 expected to be announced soon.
X-59 Experimental Aircraft Designed to Do the Seemingly Impossible.
When an aircraft’s speed approaches the speed of sound, compression waves generated in front of the plane get closer and closer together. When the aircraft “breaks” the sound barrier, these waves collapse violently, causing a loud explosion often called a sonic boom. When these sonic booms happen over the ocean, they are harmless. Still, sonic booms that happen over populated areas can result in rattled windows, broken glass, raging car alarms, and countless frayed nerves.
Hoping to reduce these booms from a loud explosion to the equivalent of a car door closing, NASA and Skunk Works started working on the X-59 experimental aircraft. The Debrief covered the years of testing and technology behind the effort in great detail earlier this year, resulting in a vehicle hoping to do the impossible in 2024…
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