NASA’s X-59 supersonic jet will fly over cities to prove its quietness | The science

The dream of commercial supersonic flights becoming as common in the future as charter flights to the beach today took a step forward and became a reality this Friday. NASA has officially unveiled its X-59 experimental aircraft, capable of breaking the sound barrier with virtually no noise. This achievement eliminates one of the big problems of using hypersonic speed in everyday life.

The X-59 is a collaboration between the US space agency and an aviation company. Lockheed Martin, plans to make its first flight this year. A future full of activity: As NASA said at the unveiling ceremony, the device will spend years flying over specific population centers to collect data on silent supersonic flights, their effects and their reception in those communities.

Its goal is to pave the way for a new generation of commercial flights that can travel faster than the speed of sound and cut route times in half: for example, from New York to London in just three hours.

X-59 aircraft in artistic (

“In just a few years, we have gone from an ambitious concept to reality. “NASA is in California.

The artifact looks like a futuristic, minimalist vision of an airplane and an arrow merging. 30 meters long and 9 meters wide, a third of its fuselage is occupied by the nose, long and thin, like a stork’s beak. Something that, Melroy explained, prevents the buildup of sound waves that cause the characteristic rumble of supersonic aircraft. Instead, the plane’s flight produces “a mere whisper,” he said. Or, at most, the sound of a car door closing, according to space agency engineers.

Each of the elements of its distinctive design is carefully thought out to reduce noise to a minimum. From the relatively compact wings to the cabin, located in the middle of the fuselage and devoid of a front window. The pilot is guided by images provided by high-definition and augmented reality cameras mounted in the fuselage and displayed on a high-definition monitor inside the cockpit. The single engine is placed at the top of the ship to prevent sound waves from accumulating underneath the device and causing noise. The plane will be able to fly at 1.4 times the speed of sound, or 1,485 kilometers per hour.

NASA’s Questst project, of which the X-59 is a part, aims to collect data that will allow aviation regulators to lift a half-century-old ban on commercial supersonic flights over land. This veto in the US and other countries is due to the inconvenience caused to the population by loud noise when crossing the sound barrier.

During the test flights, which will last several years, NASA “will share the data and technologies obtained from this mission with regulators and industry,” said Bob Pierce, associate administrator for aeronautical research at NASA headquarters in the space agency in Washington. To do this, it will fly over US cities, where it will collect data from communities to find out their perception of the device. “By demonstrating that silent commercial supersonic flight is possible, we aim to open new commercial markets for American companies and benefit travelers around the world,” he added.

Following the aircraft’s launch, NASA will now focus on preparing for the debut flight, including testing the engine and its integrated systems. After your first takeoff and landing, the next step is to fly supersonic.

But while it has taken a new step, the dream of commercial hypersonic flight still has a long way to go. To make these plans viable, improvements such as fuel efficiency or emissions reductions need to be improved, according to NASA. “It must be sustainable,” the space agency reminds.

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