The X-59 is finally here.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
NASA’s latest Instead, Quest will make a very quiet “thump” similar to the sound of a car door slamming heard from inside a home. If successful, the jet has the potential to revolutionize supersonic flight and aviation in general.
After years of development, NASA and Lockheed Martin today (Jan. 12) showed off the finished X-59 Quest (“quiet supersonic technology”) in front of a crowd of about 150 at the famous Lockheed Martin Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California. , a research and development site generally known for its secrecy.
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NASA and Lockheed Martin unveiled the new X-59 quiet supersonic x-plane at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California on January 12, 2024. (Image credit: Lockheed Martin Skunk Works)
John Clark, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, said, “It is rare that we have the opportunity to host so many visitors to the Skunk Works, and it is even rarer that we get to publicly unveil one of our aircraft. Are capable of.” ,
When the curtain finally fell to reveal the X-59, the gathered crowd applauded and raised their mobile phones to capture photos of the new jet glowing red and blue under the stage lights. The long beak-like nose of the aircraft stood out prominently, reflecting the fact that it had no forward window.
“This is a moment that future generations will look back on with both awe and admiration,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of aeronautics. “The Skunk Works mantra of quick, quiet and quality takes on a whole new meaning. As we enter what we hope is a new era of quiet supersonic travel, made possible by our collaboration with NASA.”
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NASA’s X-59 quiet supersonic research aircraft sits on the apron outside Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works facility at dawn in Palmdale, California. (Image credit: Lockheed Martin Skunk Works)
During the unveiling ceremony, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy outlined the agency’s long history of leading aviation development.
“The first A in NASA is for aeronautics. And we’re all about groundbreaking aerospace innovation,” Melroy said. “The X-59 proudly continues this legacy, representing the forefront of technology advancing aviation.”
“It’s not just an airplane, it’s an X-plane,” Melroy said. “It’s an expression of a collaborative genius.”
X-59 Quest in Palmdale, California. (Image credit: Lockheed Martin)
But Melroy admitted that he initially had some doubts about the revolutionary aircraft. “As a test pilot, when I first saw the design I went ‘hmm’, actually had some questions about it.”
Specifically, Melroy was referring to the fact that the X-59 does not have a forward-facing window, a design choice that helps reduce the sound boom generated by the aircraft. Instead, it features what NASA calls the External Vision System, or XVS, which consists of a camera and a cockpit-mounted screen that gives pilots an augmented-reality view of the front of the jet.
Melroy said the system has the potential to revolutionize aircraft design.
“We don’t feel comfortable deploying a crewed flying vehicle without testing it first. So this groundbreaking technology is really guiding us toward a future where visibility barriers in aircraft design are removed with this inventive solution.” May go.”
The rear of the X-59 Quest ‘quiet’ supersonic jet. (Image credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin)
NASA leadership used the unveiling to highlight the roles that both the agency and the Southern California region have played in the rich American history of pushing the frontiers of aeronautics. “This journey really began in 1947 when the era of supersonic flight began in the high desert of California with test pilot Chuck Yeager and the X-1,” said Robert Pierce, NASA’s associate administrator for the agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.
NASA Associate Administrator Jim Frey continued this sentiment, noting that the X-59 is the latest in a long line of NASA X-planes that have revolutionized aviation throughout the agency’s history.
“Even among other X-planes, the X-59 is special. Every aircraft that receives the These special aircraft push the envelope of what’s possible. In flight. And once they prove those concepts, they often end up in museums. And that’s what really makes the X-59 different. “
Frey was referring to the fact that once the So that data can be collected on this. It makes a splash.
NASA will then use that data to seek approval for commercial supersonic flights from regulatory agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration, with the ultimate goal of making aviation more sustainable and enabling faster flight over populated areas.
Some of the applications of supersonic flight outlined at today’s unveiling include faster medical response, shorter shipping times and, of course, faster travel.
NASA and Lockheed Martin aren’t the only ones pursuing commercial flight at speeds above the sound barrier. Colorado-based Boom Supersonic is developing a commercial supersonic passenger jet, the XB-1, which the company hopes to put in the air on its first flight in 2027.