NASA’s first large scale, piloted X-plane in more than three decades is cleared for final assembly and integration.

According to NASA, the management review, known as Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D), was the last programmatic hurdle for the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft to clear before officials meet again in late 2020 to approve the first flight in 2021.

“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.

The X-59 is shaped to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom reaching the ground to that of a gentle thump, if it is heard at all. It will be flown above select U.S. communities to generate data from sensors and people on the ground in order to gauge public perception. That data will help regulators establish new rules to enable commercial supersonic air travel over land.

Construction of the X-59, under a $247.5 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract, is continuing at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company’s Skunk Works factory in Palmdale, California.

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Looks very 1960’s and that tail reminds me of the Lockheed F-101 Starfighter – one of the first Airfix models I ever built as a kid 🙂


Even earlier… The X3 was the progenitor of the Starfighter…



Wow family resemblance is marked…

Just goes to show good stuff tends to come around again.


The X3 was definitely the opposite of “good stuff”. Tremendously underpowered to the point of being extremely dangerous and almost unmanageable.


I was thinking more along the lines of the Angel Interceptor from Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons TV show… One of the first Airfix kits I built…


Unfortunately also known as The Flying Coffin, so many of them came down.


Hi Cymbeline,

They were designed as high level interceptors, but the Europeans started using them at low level for which the airframe was poorly suited. They even had a downward firing ejector seat, not good if you were flying at 250ft!


Must be an interesting experience taxiing that around an airport!


Oh look, after commercially killing Concorde, the yanks are trying to join the SST race. Only 60 years behind the times……….and counting