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Sleek and Silent Supersonic X-59 Aircraft Unveil by NASA and Lockheed Martin

Photo from Space.com

At Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California, NASA and Lockheed Martin unveiled the X-59, a remarkably quiet supersonic aircraft. The X-59, part of NASA’s Quest mission, intends to fly supersonic without generating the loud sonic boom that has prevented civilian aircraft from exceeding the sound barrier since 1973. Lockheed received a $247.5 million contract in 2018 for the $632 million, eight-year project.

Photo from Flight Global

NASA’s X-59: Flight with a Gentle Thump, Promising Quicker Journeys and Quieter Skies

Instead of the tremendous sonic boom of supersonic flight, the X-59 makes a “thump” like closing a car door. According to NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, this innovation might halve flying times from New York to Los Angeles.

The Mach 1.4 (925 mph) aircraft will make its inaugural flight later this year and undergo supersonic flight testing. NASA wants aviation authorities like the FAA to change regulations based on sound levels rather than aircraft speed. This could make slightly supersonic flight more popular in civilian and military aviation.

While not intended for passenger usage, the X-59 is an experimental concept to demonstrate future aviation technology. Its 99.7-foot length, 29.5-foot breadth, and shock-wave-breaking front design reduce noise. Pilots see through high-resolution video cameras on a 4K monitor through the “eXternal Vision System,” which replaces the front windscreen.

READ ALSO: Space Highlights Of 2023: Moon, Asteroids, And Innovative Rockets Take Center Stage

NASA’s X-59 Sparks a Quieter Era in Aviation

Pam Melroy stressed the purposeful engineering decision to remove the front-facing window, encouraging a quieter airplane. She expects this discovery will influence future aircraft designs, suggesting possibilities beyond the X-59.

After decades of research into sonic boom mitigation, the X-59 is a major aeronautical technical feat. NASA is preparing for the X-59‘s test flights over populated regions, and public comment will be vital in convincing aviation authorities to allow supersonic flight with minimal noise.

The introduction of the X-59 could alter aviation by lowering travel times and noise pollution.

READ ALSO: Lunar Exploration, Asteroid Discoveries, And Cutting-Edge Rockets Dominated Global Space Headlines In 2023

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