Supersonic Commercial Travel Begins To Take Shape

Manufacturing began on the first part for the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft, bringing us one step closer to supersonic commercial travel over land.

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works-Supersonic Commercial Travel
A machinist prepares the milling equipment for the first manufactured part of the aircraft structure for the X-59 QueSST at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, California. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works began manufacturing the first part for the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft, marking a milestone to bring supersonic commercial travel over land one step closer to reality.

“The start of manufacturing on the project marks a great leap forward for the X-59 and the future of quiet supersonic commercial travel,” said Peter Iosifidis, Low Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. “The long, slender design of the aircraft is the key to achieving a low sonic boom. As we enter into the manufacturing phase, the aircraft structure begins to take shape, bringing us one step closer to enabling supersonic travel for passengers around the world.”

Earlier this year, NASA selected Lockheed Martin to design, build and flight test the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator. The X-59 will conduct its first flight in 2021. It will be used to collect community response data on the acceptability of the quiet sonic boom generated by the aircraft, helping NASA establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to overturn current regulations banning supersonic travel over land.

X-59 is designed to cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of about 940 mph and create a sound about as loud as a car door closing, 75 Perceived Level decibel (PLdB), instead of a sonic boom.

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