NASA continues to make progress on the assembly of the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology, or QueSST, aircraft, while overcoming challenges presented by the global pandemic.
As early as 2024, NASA plans to fly the X-59 QueSST over select communities to gather information about how the public perceives the quiet noise the X-59 is designed to produce.
While the assembly of the X-59 presses on at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, Calif., the development of an all new, full scale experimental aircraft is a challenging undertaking.
“The integrated NASA and Lockheed Martin X-59 team is doing an amazing job given the challenging circumstances of COVID-19,” said NASA’s Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project manager Craig Nickol. “The team has shown remarkable resilience, and we’re excited to see the visible progress on X-59 assembly and integration every day. Although we have had some challenges in 2020, the team has responded well by updating plans and continuing to make progress. We’re looking forward to several important milestones this year.”
Upcoming milestones include completion of the X-59’s wing and its mating to the aircraft’s fuselage. NASA plans for the X-59’s assembly to wrap up, and major ground testing to begin, in summer 2021, leading to a target date for first flight in summer 2022.
NASA’s mission to provide regulators with data that may open the future to supersonic flight over land, drastically reducing flight times, is the culmination of decades of NASA supersonic research.