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NASA officially unveils 'son of Concorde' X-59 quiet supersonic plane

By T.K. Randall
January 16, 2024 · Comment icon 24 comments
NASA reveals the X-59.
The X-59 is now official. Image Credit: NASA
The futuristic aircraft can reach supersonic speeds without producing deafening sonic booms.
Rumors concerning NASA's secretive supersonic aircraft project had been swirling for years, but now at last the space agency has officially unveiled its new plane for all the world to see.

Named the X-59 Low Boom Flight Demonstration aircraft, the plane was revealed at an event at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works facilities in Palmdale, California on Friday.

Measuring 100ft long, capable of speeds of around 1,000 miles per hour and costing $247.5 million, the X-59 has been designed to reduce the typically deafening sonic boom to a mere 'sonic thud'.

It accomplishes this thanks to its unique shape which helps to break up the sound waves typically produced when an aircraft exceeds the speed of sound.

Around one-third of the plane's entire body is comprised of a long, slender nose while its windscreen has been replaced with a series of cameras enabling the pilot to see both in front and below.
Powered by a GE Aviation F414-GE-100 jet engine, the X-59 will undergo test flights for the next couple of years above five population centers to gauge the public's reaction to its dampened booms.

The International Civil Aviation Organization's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) will ultimately use this data to produce new noise regulations for supersonic flights.

"This is a major accomplishment made possible only through the hard work and ingenuity from NASA and the entire X-59 team," said NASA deputy administrator Pam Melroy.

"In just a few short years we've gone from an ambitious concept to reality. "

"NASA's X-59 will help change the way we travel, bringing us closer together in much less time."

Source: Aviation Week | Comments (24)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #15 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 months ago
Comment icon #16 Posted by Jon the frog 5 months ago
Remind me the X-3 Stiletto, X-3 didn't have the engine to do the job but this one will.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Sgt84801 5 months ago
The technology maybe great, but I see little benefit in using this prototype for commercial use. Perhaps the technology will be used to make a commercial transporter.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Nosy.Matters 5 months ago
Soon --for transportation purposes of course, they'll be strapping people to missiles and rockets.       eidt / edit great post by the way     , , , ,  --nosy
Comment icon #19 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 months ago
That is the entire point of this aircraft. It is built entirely to test technology that can be transferred to future passenger planes. That is why you build experimental prototypes in the first place.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 5 months ago
SpaceX has proposed doing precisely that with their Starship,
Comment icon #21 Posted by Gertdoggy 5 months ago
This would have tremendous military benefit. Spy planes for example are designed to never be detected, not just be miles away when detected. The less the enemy questions the better.
Comment icon #22 Posted by psyche101 5 months ago
It's a way to bring back what we had with Concord. It was indeed popular. There is a tremendous civilian market for this. Very clever.
Comment icon #23 Posted by psyche101 5 months ago
Commercial airlines have been working on it for years.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 1 month ago
NASA’s X-59 Passes Milestone Toward Safe First Flight  

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