NASA has revealed images showing the X-59 experimental supersonic aircraft outside of its hangar at Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks in Palmdale, California.
The X-59, which was formerly called the X-59 Quesst (Quiet SuperSonic Technology) aircraft was photographed last month on the flight line – the space between the hangar and the runway. NASA and Lockheed Martin have developed the X-59 to demonstrate technologies and design attributes that mitigate the creation of sonic booms when an aircraft flies faster than Mach 1.
Engineers hope that the X-59 will be able to reduce loud sonic booms to a quiet thump, opening up a market for a new generation of quieter, supersonic aircraft.
The move from its build site to the flight line is one of several milestones before X-59 flies for its first time later this year. The team at Skunkworks will next conduct a series of ground tests to ensure the aircraft is safe to fly.
X-59 flight test program includes flying over several communities next year to gather data on human responses to the sound the aircraft generates during supersonic flight. After testing NASA has said it will give the data it gathers to US and international regulators to enable commercial supersonic flight over land.