Dynamic testing of the X-59 quiet sonic boom aircraft

By carefully designing an aircraft’s shape, NASA has found a way to manipulate the shockwaves coming off a supersonic aircraft so they don’t produce sonic booms as intense as before.

Based on decades of research into supersonic flight – using wind tunnels, testing concepts on aircraft in flight, and using powerful supercomputers to run simulations – NASA’s aeronautical innovators think they’ve come up with a solution to the loud sonic boom the general public are wary of.

NASA awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to build a faster-than-sound X-plane — with the official designation of X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology, or QueSST — that will demonstrate quiet supersonic technologies in straight and level flight over a large area.

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