NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) supersonic X aircraft has passed its final development milestone and is currently in the assembly phase,media reported. On December 12, 2019, local time, senior managers of the project approved the next phase of the project following a Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D) management review at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Under a $247.5 million cost-plus-incentive contract, the X-59 will fly into the sky in 2021 and will be built at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works plant in Pamdale, California. By the time construction is complete, the aircraft will be able to cruise at Mach 1.27 at an altitude of 55,000 feet (17,000 meters), resulting in a sound explosion of only 75 decibels (PLdB), the equivalent of a car closing down.
The X-59 is intended not only to demonstrate new technologies that reduce sonic booms, but also to demonstrate the collection of technical data through special sensor arrays and communities in the United States and to measure public reaction to the aircraft.
X-59 being assembled
The final assembly and system integration work plan is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year, with the first flight scheduled for 2021.
“With the completion of the KDP-D project, we have shown that the project is on schedule and well planned and running on track. We are ready to continue this historic mission to serve the air passengers of this country. Bob Pearce, NASA’s deputy administrator of aerospace, said.