VIDEO: Watch the X-59 QueSST supersonic aircraft take shape at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works


NASA have released a time-lapse video showing the progress being made on the build of its X-59 QueSST test aircraft at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works site in Palmdale, California.

X-59 QueSST (Quiet SuperSonic Technology) is being built by Lockheed engineers for NASA to prove that by combining a new aerodynamic shape, engine configuration and video-enabled controls they can reduce the amount of noise generated by sonic booms.

The Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) test program will see the X-59 run through a series of flight tests that will use microphone arrays installed on the ground to record sound levels as it travels as fast as Mach 1.42 (1,510 kmph, 937mph). More details on the build progress are featured in this NASA article.

X-59’s first flight is planned to take place next year, with flights over populated communities planned for 2024.

The data that will be gathered is key to internationally reversing a ban on commercial supersonic flights over land which has existed since the first and only supersonic passenger aircraft Concorde operated between the UK, France and the USA in 1976.

Several companies in the USA are developing supersonic passenger aircraft, including Boom, Spike Aerospace and Exosonic.

The latest developments from supersonic and hypersonic aircraft and technology development programs, including X-59 will be discussed on September 29 & 30 at the London to Sydney in 5 hours: The future of aviation conference in London. Speakers at this Aerospace Testing Internationalorganized event include Norris Tie from Exosonic, Dr Michael Smart from Hypersonix and many more. For more information and to register with a special 30% discounted rate go here.

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About Author


Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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