NASA is constructing an ultra-quiet craft that can travel faster than the speed of sound. This supersonic craft can open the door to commercial supersonic air travel, almost two decades after the Concorde’s last flight.
NASA’s supersonic aircraft is called the X-59 QueSST (Quiet Supersonic Technology). The test aircraft is under construction at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California. The aircraft will fly at Mach 1.4, which is faster than the speed of sound. The speed of sound is around 767 miles per hour (1,230 kilometres per hour).
Ultra-fast and ultra-quiet
An aircraft traveling at supersonic speeds, or faster than the speed of sound would be loud enough to cause a major disturbance. A loud sonic boom is heard on the ground below aircraft flying at such speeds. But NASA’s X-59 QueSST is designed to fly faster than the speed of sound without producing a startling sonic boom for people on the ground.
Once completed, the X-59 aircraft will be 94 feet long with a wingspan of 29.5 feet. It could reach top speeds of Mach 1.5 (990 mph) with a maximum take-off weight of 32,300 lbs (14,700 kgs).
NASA shared a short time-lapse video of the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology’s (QueSST) construction for the craft taking place at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California.