NASA and Lockheed Martin Skunkworks are assembling an upcoming supersonic aircraft designed to perform quiet flights. The X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft is under construction at a Lockheed-owned facility in Palmdale, California, NASA said Thursday.
QueSST would collect data on how quiet the aircraft would appear to the public during flights. The aircraft features the eXternal Vision System, a forward-facing camera that uses augmented reality to provide the pilot with visual awareness.
Skunkworks is using its Combined Operation: Bolting and Robotic Auto-drill (COBRA) system to accelerate drilling activities for QueSST's wing assembly.
NASA has scheduled QueSST for initial flight in 2022 and plans to begin gathering the sought public reaction data in 2024. Federal regulatory bodies and international authorities will receive access to findings so that they may use the gathered data to inform supersonic flight policy. Major ground trials might begin in 2021.