Civil Aviation

NASA X-59 QueSST aircraft moves Closer to Runway at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works facility for ground testing

NASA X-59 QueSST aircraft moves Closer to Runway

The QueSST (Quiet SuperSonic Technology) for quiet supersonic commercial flight over land moves on to the next stage for NASA Aeronautics‘ X-59.

The aircraft moved to the space between the hangar and the runway which marks the start of a series of ground tests to ensure the X-59 is safe to fly.

Lockheed Martin says on its Facebook Page;

‘We moved the innovative aircraft to a run stall on the flight line for further ground testing, including vibration testing.

Technicians check out the X-59 aircraft as it sits near the runway at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California, on Jun. 19, 2023.

‘It is aiming to quiet the sonic boom and is one step closer to shaping the future of supersonic commercial flight travel.’

According to a NASA news release, this series of images shows NASA’s X-59 as it sits on the flight line — the space between the hangar and the runway — at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California, on Jun. 19, 2023. The move from its construction site to the flight line is one of many milestones that prepare the X-59 for its first and subsequent flights. Next up, the team will conduct significant ground tests to ensure the aircraft is safe to fly.

The X-59

The X-59 aircraft—the centerpiece of NASA’s QueSST mission—is designed to demonstrate the ability to fly supersonic, or faster than Mach 1, while reducing the loud sonic boom to a quiet sonic thump.

NASA’s X-59 aircraft is parked near the runway at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California, on Jun. 19, 2023. This is where the X-59 will be housed during ground and initial flight tests.

The X-59 technology will be demonstrated when the X-plane flies over communities starting in 2024 when NASA will fly it over several communities to gather data on human responses to the sound generated during supersonic flight. NASA will deliver that data set to US and international regulators to possibly enable commercial supersonic flight over land.

This breakthrough would open the door to an entirely new global market for aircraft manufacturers, enabling passengers to travel anywhere in the world in half the time it takes today.

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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