NASA Announces Flight Date For Supersonic X-Plane

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Image: Lockheed Martin

Image: Lockheed Martin

NASA now has an official development timeline for its Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) X-plane that, according to the administration, will lead to the X-59’s first flight in the next three years. NASA committed to the timeline after a Key Decision Point-C (KDP-C) review confirming funding and achievability of the project. The administration says the KDP-C “commits NASA to the full X-59 development effort through flight-testing in 2021.”

“This is a monumental milestone for the project,” said NASA associate administrator for aeronautics Jaiwon Shin. “I’m extremely proud of the team for its hard work getting to this point, and we all look forward to watching this aircraft take shape and then take flight.”

QueSST is part of NASA’s Low-Boom Flight Demonstration project. The X-59 is designed to travel at supersonic speeds while remaining quiet enough to overfly populated areas. A subscale model has been undergoing low-speed wind tunnel testing at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Once built, the X-59 will be NASA’s first piloted, full-size X-plane in more than 30 years. It is being built by Lockheed Martin.