NASA’s experimental X-59 Jet has officially been cleared for the final assembly. Designed by Lockheed Martin, it is expected to make supersonic commercial travel a reality and it will be capable of reaching supersonic speed without the sonic boom.
If the experiments go as planned, one day X-59 could travel from London to New York in three hours. Upon its completion, the X-59 SuperSonic Technology will be the first large scale, piloted experimental aircraft that NASA has launched in more than three decades.
Bob Pearce, NASA’s associate administrator for Aeronautics, has talked about the aircraft by saying, “With the completion of KDP-D we’ve shown the project is on schedule, it’s well planned and on track. We have everything in place to continue this historic research mission for the nation’s air-traveling public.”
NASA’s goal was to reduce the sound of a sonic boom and make it rather a sonic “thump”. When the jet transitions to supersonic speed, the sound it will make will be as little as a car door closing. Adding that to the fact that it will be flying 940 MPH at 55,000 feet, the jet will be basically inaudible.
Aircraft’s construction is continuing at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company’s Skunk Works factory in Palmdale, California under a $247.5 million contract.
NASA will be testing the X-59 among the selected US communities to collect data and feedback. These tests might determine the future of supersonic commercial travel and establish new rules and groundwork for travel over land.
Apparently, we are not the only ones who are taken away by the beauty of X-59. Buzz Aldrin seems to be planning his next trip, but not to the Moon this time.