U.S. arms maker Lockheed Martin Corp has released a photo of the first prototype of its supersonic X-plane, the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST), during the beginning of the final assembly process.
The company says the aircraft is developing by the legendary Lockheed Martin Skunk Works advanced projects bureau in partnership with NASA.
X-59 QueSST (Quiet SuperSonic Technology) will be used to collect community response data on the acceptability of a quiet sonic boom generated by the unique design of the aircraft. The data will help NASA provide regulators with the information needed to establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to lift the ban on commercial supersonic travel over land.
The X-59 will measure 96 feet long, have a span of 29.5 feet, reach speeds of Mach 1.4, and fly at an altitude of 55,000 feet. A key design requirement of the X-59 is to replicate the noise effects of larger supersonic aircraft so that it can be used to conduct a series of trials over communities in the U.S. to assess the public’s sense of noise.
This breakthrough would open the door to an entirely new global market for aircraft manufacturers, enabling passengers to travel anywhere in the world in half the time it takes today.