Inspenet, October 22, 2023.
NASA has announced that the long-awaited first flight of the X-59 silent supersonic aircraft has been postponed until 2024. Although it was originally scheduled for this year, the delay is due to the complexity of its development.
The X-59 is a one-of-a-kind experimental aircraft that has undergone a very complex engineering process. This project has been carried out by the Agency’s researchers in collaboration with its main contractor, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, according to Europa Press . In addition to its unique design, the aircraft incorporates innovative technology, as well as systems and components from different established aircraft.
The team behind the Quest mission is facing several technical challenges that have arisen throughout this year, so more time is needed to ensure the systems are fully integrated into the aircraft and function as expected.
In addition, intermittent problems related to some of the redundant safety computers that control the aircraft’s systems are being addressed, according to a statement from the space agency.
The goal of the X-59 is to demonstrate the ability to fly at supersonic speeds, exceeding the speed of sound, while reducing the traditional sonic boom to a silent sonic impact.
NASA plans to carry out flights with the X-59 over inhabited areas in order to collect information about how people perceive the noise it generates. This data will be shared with regulatory authorities in the United States and internationally, in the hope that current regulations prohibiting supersonic commercial flights over land can be adjusted.
Currently, the aircraft is in the integrated testing phase, which must be completed before the first flight takes place. Once this stage is completed, the aircraft will advance to a flight readiness review, at which NASA plans to release a more detailed schedule for the highly anticipated first flight of the X-59.