NASA’s silent, supersonic jet X-59 nears completion
Engineers had been working on the X-59 jet since 2019 and now it has almost reached the prospects of a fully functional jet and NASA couldn’t be prouder. Time-lapse footage has been released to show “major sections of planes” of NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft. It is published in a NASA blog post.
The vehicle is developed at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California. Once the project is completed, it will be able to reach a speed of Mach 1.4, or 925 mph. The plane has a 30 foot long nose that will streamline and cut through the air. This is done so that the jet has a minimum sonic boom sound when it leaves behind the speed of sound which is 767 mph. This will allow the aircraft to reach high speed immediately after take off. On the other hand, the Concorde had to be kept at low speed when crossing high population areas due to its strong sonic boom.
The contract is given to Lockheed Martin by NASA for $ 247.5 million. The deadline to complete work on the aircraft is this year and the test flight will be scheduled for 2022. According to Inceptive Mind, the aircraft will be 94 feet long with a wingspan of 29.5 feet. The maximum weight it can support is 14,700 kg and the top speed will be 990 mph.
Jay Brandon, NASA chief engineer for the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD) project says the project is getting closer to the goal of making the X-59 into a fully functional jet. The whole process was sped up by the clever use of features and full size pre-drilled mounting holes. Laser trackers were used before fixing the parts together permanently so that there were no engineering faults. Under that, the company landed another $ 3 billion contract with United Airlines to go carbon-free. The X-59 jet is now called the “Son of Concorde” and its arrival is pleasantly awaited.