The Lockheed Martin X-59 QueSST (Quiet SuperSonic Technology) supersonic jet is being developed for NASA's Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator project.
Lockheed Martin's team at its Skunk Works facility is working with NASA to develop the experimental supersonic aircraft to address a persistent issue with supersonic flights; the sonic boom. A recent video posted to Lockheed Martin's YouTube channel features team members discussing testing and more on the journey to X-59's first flight.
The X-59 recently returned to Skunk Works in Palmdale, California, after critical ground tests over several months in Lockheed Martin's Ft. Worth facilities in Texas. The ground tests were conducted to ensure the aircraft could withstand the stresses of supersonic flight, meaning speeds of at least Mach 1. When exceeding the speed of sound (Mach 1), aircraft typically produce a loud sonic boom. However, the design of the X-59 is intended to reduce that to a quiet sonic "thump."
The X-59 QueSST will be used to collect and gauge community responses to the sonic boom produced, which will provide NASA with data it can use to inform regulators to establish "an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to lift the ban on commercial supersonic travel over land." Test flights over communities around the United States will begin in 2024.
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