The Lockheed Martin X-59 QueSST (Quiet Supersonic Transport) is an experimental supersonic aircraft designed to evaluate supersonic passenger transport noise acceptability.

“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 American 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.

The critical design review is planned for September 2019 and the first flight in the summer of 2021. NASA will then flight test it to verify its safety and performance, and to prove the quiet supersonic technology from mid-2022 over U.S. cities to evaluate community responses for regulators, which could enable commercial supersonic travel.

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Stephen (@guest_439974)
2 years ago

Check out Aerion AS2 and Boom supersonic too.

Keithdwat (@guest_439979)
2 years ago

If only someone did this 50 years earlier oh wait….

BB85 (@guest_439981)
2 years ago

I know, the noise issue is complete BS. Really the only reason the US could come up with to stop Concorde from being a commercial success.

Drake (@guest_439985)
2 years ago
Reply to  BB85

Totally agree

Aimless (@guest_440010)
2 years ago
Reply to  BB85

So you’re saying it would be a commercial success had it been able to fly over the contenental US? If it couldn’t be profitable on the premier route in global air travel – LON-NYC then it surely wouldn’t make more money on other routes. If the yanks had really not wanted it just because it wasn’t “made in america” then they could have banned it from new york. Boeing cancelled there 2707 because they saw the future market was bigger by making cheaper to operate aircraft.

Steve (@guest_440031)
2 years ago
Reply to  Aimless

It needed more routes to be profitable to bring down supply and maintained costs and build more airframes. They tried to kill off the NYC route also but at the time the money was there for the rich to get their way. Who knows what would have happened if more routes had openned and more r&d had been put into safety from the extra income

Steve (@guest_440039)
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Also the anglo french rivalry around the project didn’t exactly help its chances.

Lee1 (@guest_440159)
2 years ago
Reply to  Aimless

The overland flight ban meant that all potential customers abandoned the aircraft and therefore made it more expensive to build and maintain. Plus it limited the opportunities to maximise profits for BA and Air France.

james harrington
james harrington (@guest_439997)
2 years ago

And on that theme and for the younger readers here who may not have been so interested in these matters 50 years ago don’t forget the Concorde, TSR2 link with the cancelled F-111 order for the RAF. They (USA) may be our allies but they do the UK few or no business favours and any thought of a beneficial trade agreement after Exit is a non starter.

dave12 (@guest_440019)
2 years ago

Totally agree.

captain P Wash.
captain P Wash. (@guest_440020)
2 years ago

Concorde was Amazing at the Time, Both the USA and Russia had their own Programs but the Anglo French Design was the only one that worked. Yes the USA played Dirty but Hell, you just have to look back In History to see why. ( Boston and Tea spring to mind ). TSR2 was Killed off by our own Government, F111 was Too, Then we got the Buccaneer which Luckily was never called Upon to do the job that the TSR2 was Designed for. I miss the Buccaneer though, such an amazing sight at Sea Level Flashing by our Ships… Read more »

David E Flandry
David E Flandry (@guest_440069)
2 years ago

The history of UK defense projects from the late 50s to mid 60s is a triumph of tragedy. First decide to go to an all missile RAF, so cancel the TSR-2 and other aircraft. Then cancel Blue Streak, Black Arrow and other IRBMs due to cost, then go with the FB-111 then cancel due to cost and go with the Skybolt which the US then cancels, so go to Polaris. Meanwhile the UK has no military fast jet program, so leadership passes to France in that area. Oh, in the meantime cancel the CVA01 so the RN has no real… Read more »

Andrew (@guest_440074)
2 years ago

Tempest and SABRE

Not all is lost sir.
But i do get your point completely.

David E Flandry
David E Flandry (@guest_440068)
2 years ago

Could this be modified into a bomber? 10 or 12 with ALCM or ALBM would be nice.

Frank62 (@guest_440088)
2 years ago

The Rockwell B-1 Lancer has been doing exactly that scince the mid 1980s & the Russians have the Blackjack bomber. Today stealthy designs allow slower aircraft to ghost into enemy airspace to launch ALCMs or ALBMs. The speed & altitude of this supersonic airliner would be easily countered by todays SAMs & air to air missiles.

Stephen (@guest_440110)
2 years ago
Reply to  Frank62

As we’re getting into Ram/Scram-jet missile territory it wont matter how fast or high you fly, the only thing that will save you are counter-measures. Stealth is the main one currently, if a missile can’t get a solid track and lock then you’re ‘safe’, once it does you better hope you’re counter-measure is more sophisticated than the missile’s seeker or you’re in for a 55,000 foot tumble.

DaveyB (@guest_440119)
2 years ago
Reply to  Stephen

Also courtesy of Martin Baker a free tie!

Lloyd T
Lloyd T (@guest_440192)
2 years ago

Concord was 100% British, we let the the French have it as part of the deal to be in the European Union.. Let OK where that got us. ? ? ?