NASA’s X-59 Kicks Off 2022 in Texas for Ground Testing

NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology aircraft (QueSST) is pictured here at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in California, wrapped up in preparation for its move to Texas. The X-plane will undergo ground tests to ensure it can withstand the stresses of flight before returning to California for completion. (Credits: Lockheed Martin)

PALMDALE, Calif. (NASA PR) — 2021 saw significant milestones achieved in the assembly of NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology aircraft (QueSST), and all eyes now look forward to a pivotal 2022. Following the X-plane’s temporary move from Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works in California to their facilities in Texas, the X-59 is set to start 2022 with critical ground testing, as progress continues toward NASA’s target of the aircraft’s first flight later this year.

While in Texas, ground testing of the X-59 will be done to ensure the aircraft can withstand the loads and stresses that typically occur during flight. The team will also calibrate and test the fuel systems before the X-59 makes the journey back to California for more tests and completion.

The X-59 is designed to reduce the loudness of the sonic boom, which occurs when an aircraft flies faster than the speed of sound, to a gentle, quiet sonic “thump”. The X-plane will demonstrate this in flights over communities around the U.S. starting in 2024, as NASA collects data that could open the future to commercial supersonic flights over land.