If you thought that NASA is only involved in the “big birds” that travel beyond the atmosphere, then think again. The American space agency is preparing to bring to the world the X-59 QueSST jet, a plane faster than sound and extremely quiet.
The aircraft has been in the works since 2018, and it should be finished by the end of the current year. In charge of the final assembly is the Lockheed Martin corporation, a global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technologies company with worldwide interests.
The first flight will be in 2021
According to a representative of the Lockheed Martin company, the first flight of NASA’s X-59 supersonic jet will occur in 2021. The spokesman stated what will happen after the mating of the aircraft and final assembly:
We’ll take the airframe to do some proof testing and get some other parts installed, do some test runs of the systems, and then roll it out.
During its final stages of testing, the team will fly the aircraft over specific U.S. communities to see how humans respond to the low-boom flights. The data gathered will be delivered to U.S. and international regulators.
Of course, anybody would be skeptical about the idea of an aircraft being ultraquiet and ultrafast, but the building team is really confident that they will get the job done as planned:
We’re very confident. All kinds of modeling simulations and predictions align, so we believe, based on these models and simulations we’ve run, that it will achieve that low-boom sound once it reaches supersonic speeds.
It’s nice to see NASA active not only in the space exploration field. Whether we like to admit it or not, humanity still has plenty more to learn about its own backyard – the Earth. Nonetheless, NASA is at the same time considering the idea of finding humanity a new planet to live on.