NASA's X-59 supersonic passenger aircraft will make its maiden flight before the end of 2023

By: Maksim Panasovskiy | 17.05.2023, 23:05

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing for the first flight of the X-59 QuESST passenger aircraft. This was announced by Bill Nelson, the head of the space agency.

Here's What We Know

Nelson spoke at a hearing in the U.S. Senate. According to the Director of NASA, the supersonic aircraft will take to the air at the end of this year. Tests are expected to take place at the US Air Force base Edwards in California. It is possible that a different location will be chosen for the test.

The X-59 QuESST features a needle-shaped nose. This is necessary for the aircraft to feel better at supersonic speeds. By the way, according to the preliminary design, the experimental aircraft will be able to accelerate to 1500-1700 km/h, which is about 300-500 km/h more than the speed of sound.

NASA is working on the X-59 QuESST together with Lockheed Martin. The aircraft received the F-414-GE-100 engine in late fall 2022. The propulsion system is designed by General Electric and underwent a series of tests last year.

It is likely that as part of the test flight, the aircraft will fly a short distance from the ground, although the maximum flight altitude will eventually be 17 km. In 2025, NASA wants to conduct several test flights of the X-59 QuESST over populated areas to gather information on how people respond to sound.

The supersonic QuESST aircraft will cut in half the time it takes to fly passengers from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast. Now it takes five to six hours to fly from one part of the country to another.