NASA has announced it will put the X-59 in for final assembly, with the space agency stating it will begin flights in 2021. Along with Lockheed Martin, NASA is constructing the highly anticipated the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft, known as the “son of Concorde”. The supersonic jet will be able to travel at an altitude of 55,000 feet and at a speed of about 940mph – breaking the sound barrier in the process – and able to travel from London to New York in just three hours.
The jet will be able to reach such speeds, without the noise produced by Concorde.
One of the reasons the Concorde failed was partly because the sonic boom it created when it broke the sound barrier caused distress among livestock and minor damages to buildings.
This led to Concorde being banned to fly over the mainland US, which was a massive contribution to the airline going bust in 2003. However, the X-59 may have solved the issue.
NASA said in a statement: “NASA’s first large scale, piloted X-plane in more than three decades is cleared for final assembly and integration of its systems following a major project review by senior managers held Thursday at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
NASA news: Space agency begins work on supersonic super-quiet Concorde-like jet
The X-59 will be able to travel at an altitude of 55,000 feet and at a speed of about 940mph
“The X-59 is shaped to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom reaching the ground to that of a gentle thump, if it is heard at all.
“It will be flown above select U.S. communities to generate data from sensors and people on the ground in order to gauge public perception.
“That data will help regulators establish new rules to enable commercial supersonic air travel over land.
“Three major work areas are actively set up for building the airplane’s main fuselage, wing and empennage. Final assembly and integration of the airplane’s systems – including an innovative cockpit eXternal Visibility System – is targeted for late 2020.
Concorde went bust in 2003
“Management of the X-59 QueSST development and construction falls under the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project, which is part of NASA’s Integrated Aviation Systems Program.”
The X-59 has just undergone a management review, known as Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D), which was considered by NASA to be “the last programmatic hurdle for the X-5”.
Bob Pearce, NASA’s associate administrator for Aeronautics, said: “With the completion of KDP-D we’ve shown the project is on schedule, it’s well planned and on track.
“We have everything in place to continue this historic research mission for the nation’s air-traveling public.”