NASA has unveiled its first official x-plane in years, dubbed the ‘son of concord,’ it has now officially been cleared for assembly before it begins test flights in 2021.
As the Daily Mail reports:
The X-59 will cruise at Mach 1.42 (1,090 mph/1,754 km/h) and is designed for supersonic flight while preventing its sonic boom from being heard on the ground.
If successful, the craft could one day travel from London to New York in just over three hours, while transcending objections to supersonic air travel over land.
NASA cleared the X-59 “quiet” supersonic plane for final assembly and integration. Developed by @LockheedMartin‘s Skunk Works, the experimental plane is designed to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom reaching the ground to that of a gentle thump.
Lockheed Martin illustration: pic.twitter.com/B4GusIDAHE
— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) December 16, 2019
The unusual design also features no front-facing cockpit window — instead, cameras will feed the forward view to a 4K ultra-high-resolution monitor in the cockpit.
Construction of the X-59 — to a $247.5 million (£187.5 million) contract — is being undertaken by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics at their Palmdale, California factory.
If successful, the x-plane could very well change the way commercial air travel is conducted forever.