“The start of manufacturing on the project marks a great leap forward for the X-59 and the future of quiet supersonic commercial travel,” says Peter Iosifidis, Low Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.
Lockheed Martin engineers are designing, building, and flight testing the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator. The X-59 is scheduled to conduct its first flight in 2021.
X-59 is designed to cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of about 940 miles per hour (mph) and create a sound about as loud as a car door closing, 75 Perceived Level decibel (PLdB), instead of a sonic boom.
Noise is of considerable concern, so during its first flight, the aircraft will collect community response data on the acceptability of the quiet sonic boom generated by the aircraft, helping NASA establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to overturn current regulations banning supersonic travel over land.
“The long, slender design of the aircraft is the key to achieving a low sonic boom,” Iosifidis says. “As we enter into the manufacturing phase, the aircraft structure begins to take shape, bringing us one step closer to enabling supersonic travel for passengers around the world.”
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