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article imageNASA's quiet supersonic X-plane gets a new name - X-59 QueSST

By Karen Graham     Jun 29, 2018 in Technology
NASA’s newest experimental aircraft, designed with quiet supersonic technology and intended to help open a new era in faster-than-sound air travel over land, will forever be known in the history books as the X-59 QueSST.
The U.S. Air Force is the entity responsible for assigning X-number designations to important experimental aircraft and rockets that dates back to 1947. The new experimental supersonic X-plane was given an X-number with historical significance, as well as a nod to NASA's quest for quiet supersonic technology (SST).
The designation "X-59" pays tribute to Chuck Yeager, who famously piloted the world's first supersonic plane, the Bell X-1 in 1947. In the plane, nicknamed "Glamourous Glenis" after his wife, Yeager became the first person to break the sound barrier.
The "QueSST" part of the designation is apparently an "inside joke" with NASA, according to Space.com. It refers to the space agency's "quest" for quiet supersonic technology. NASA was notified of the official designation on Tuesday.
"For everyone working on this important project, this is great news and we're thrilled with the designation," Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, said in the NASA statement.
Chuck Yeager next to experimental aircraft Bell X-1 #1 Glamorous Glennis.
Chuck Yeager next to experimental aircraft Bell X-1 #1 Glamorous Glennis.
U.S. Air Force photo
Lockheed Martin awarded contract to build plane
Funding for the quiet supersonic plane was included in the White House's 2019 budget request earlier this year as part of a $633.9 million funding proposal for aeronautics research. But NASA has been working on quiet SST for some time. In February 2016, Lockheed Martin was awarded a preliminary design contract, aiming to fly sometime around 2020.
After a preliminary review of the technology in 2017 proved to be sound -in April 2018, NASA awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to design, build and deliver in late 2021 the Low-Boom X-plane. The critical design review is planned for September 2019 and the first flight in the summer of 2021.
Nasa Quiet Supersonic Technology Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator. The plane is now known as the X-59 Qu...
Nasa Quiet Supersonic Technology Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator. The plane is now known as the X-59 QueSST.
NASA
The X-59 QueSST is now under construction at Lockheed Martin's famed Skunk Works plant in Palmdale, California. With the supersonic technology onboard, the plane is designed so that when flying supersonic, people on the ground will hear nothing more than a sonic thump - if anything at all, reports Space Daily.
NASA will conduct test flights before pronouncing the plane safe to fly over U.S. airspace. Then, in late 2022, the X-59 will begin making supersonic flights over select communities to measure residents' reactions to any noise they might hear.
The scientifically valid data gathered from these community overflights will be presented to U.S. and international regulators. The information will be used to help them come up with regulations based on noise levels that enable new commercial markets for supersonic flight over land.
Boom Airliner 
At Mach 2.2  the supersonic jet could fly between New York City and London in 3 hours...
Boom Airliner At Mach 2.2, the supersonic jet could fly between New York City and London in 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Boom Supersonic
Other private projects in SST
Virgin Galactic and Boom Technology are working together to build a supersonic jet capable of flying at twice the speed of sound — about 1,451 mph (2,335 km/h). Such a jet would make a trip to Hawaii that typically takes 15 to 16 hours, instead, get you there in 5 to 6 hours.
Then, there is Spike Aerospace, an American aerospace manufacturing firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. The company is developing its own S-512 Quiet Supersonic Jet, which would have similar performance to Boom's SST. A New York-to-London trip typically takes up to 7 hours, and they plan to cut the time to just three hours.
The S-512 jet could fly passengers from New York to London in just three hours.
The S-512 jet could fly passengers from New York to London in just three hours.
Spike Aerospace
The age of commercial supersonic air travel began with the Concorde in 1976. Operated by British Airways and Air France, the last Concorde flight took place in 2003, following a fatal crash in 2000.
Russian airline Aeroflot flew the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144. Flights of the Aeroflot SST began in 1977 and ended in 1978 due to technical issues, according to NASA. The sleek, double-delta-winged craft was the brainchild of famed Russian aircraft designer Andrei N. Tupolev, who oversaw the development of the Tu-144 as the general designer. The prototype Tu-144 was first flown on Dec. 31, 1968, about two months before the competing Concorde prototype took to the air.
More about NASA, supersonic xplane, X59 QueSST, chuck yeager, supersonic technology
 
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