Last year, 2021, saw significant milestones reached in the assembly of NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft, and all eyes are now on a pivotal 2022.
Following the temporary relocation of the X-plane from Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works in California to their facilities in Texas, the X-59 is set to begin 2022 with critical ground testing as progress continues towards NASA’s goal of first flight of the aircraft later this year.
While in Texas, ground tests of the X-59 will be conducted to ensure the aircraft can withstand the loads and stresses that typically occur during flight. The team will also calibrate and test the fuel systems before the X-59 returns to California for further testing and completion.
The X-59 is designed to reduce the volume of the sonic boom, which occurs when an aircraft flies faster than the speed of sound, to a soft, quiet audible “blow”. The X-plane will demonstrate this in flights over communities across the United States starting in 2024, as NASA collects data that could open the future to commercial supersonic flight over land.