A key component of NASA’s X-59 Silent Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft is conducting vibration testing at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia,media reported. The External Vision System (XVS) is a special camera system that X-plane pilots will use to observe the front when flying in experimental supersonic aircraft.
When the X-59 goes into service in 2021, pilots will face an unusual problem since the Concorde’s supersonic airliner retired. The X-59, which aims to test new technology and create a new generation of supersonic commercial aircraft, will face some difficulties despite its promise to overcome some of the shortcomings of the Concorde.
One is that if it is an ideal design then a long-range supersonic airliner is basically a pointed dart. What’s annoying, however, is that while this shape may be good from an aerodynamic point of view, it’s hard for pilots to see the front without a lot of sophisticated mechanics, such as Concorde’s sagging head and special sliding windshield.
XVS provides the X-59 pilot with in-flight forward vision
The X-59, made by Lockheed Martin, takes a different approach to the XVS. The visual system uses the front-facing camera and image processing software display system to provide the pilot with a virtual window in the forward airspace but also graphical flight data.
NASA says XVS has been tested in flight and its pallets — including processors, network equipment, video distribution and power distribution components — are conducting ground vibration tests to ensure structural safety requirements are met.
Kemper Kibler, Chief Hardware Engineer at XVS, said: “We are prototyping, which refers to the lower vibration levels of the test equipment than the qualification test, but the expected vibration level of the flight environment needs to ensure that the equipment will be able to operate after the X-59 is installed. “
“Without such testing, the components may fail, resulting in damage to the aircraft or injuries to the crew. We want to identify and correct these issues in a controlled laboratory environment. “
Monitoring vibration test
The XVS is expected to continue to conduct temperature and altitude testing in New York under simulated conditions similar to those encountered by the X-59 during flight.
When the X-59 is complete, it will be able to cruise at mach 1.27 at an altitude of 55,000 feet (17,000 meters), but it will produce only a 75 decibel sound explosion ( PLdB) — the equivalent of a car closing. The aircraft was developed to demonstrate new technologies, minimize sound explosions, collect technical data and measure public reaction to the aircraft.