NASA Lockheed Martin X-59 QueSST
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin
NASA’s first large scale, piloted X-plane in over 30-years has been cleared for final assembly and integration of its systems following a major project review by senior managers held Thursday at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D), was the last programmatic hurdle for the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft to clear before officials convene again in late 2020 to approve the airplane’s first flight in 2021. Read more for two videos and additional information.

Unlike other supersonic aircraft, the X-59 is shaped to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom reaching the ground to that of a gentle thump. The X-59 will be flown above select US communities to first gather data from sensors and people on the ground in order to gauge public perception, thus helping regulators establish new rules to enable commercial supersonic air travel over land.

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,” said Bob Pearce, NASA’s associate administrator for Aeronautics.