- NASA unveiled the X-59, an experimental supersonic aircraft designed to produce a quieter sonic boom.
- The explosive noise happens when an aircraft travels faster than the speed of sound.
- Though the X-59 is not a prototype, its technology could influence the future of supersonic flight.
Earlier this month, NASA unveiled the X-59 aircraft, its experimental supersonic jet designed to travel faster than the speed of sound — with a “sonic boom” no louder than the bounce of a basketball.
The X-59 is a 100-foot research aircraft designed to create a quieter sonic boom more suitable for commercial travel, following the end of the Concorde, the first supersonic commercial airplane, in 2003. It features a streamlined nose that makes up about a third of its length and a windowless cockpit.
Dubbed the Quiet Supersonic Technology or QueSST for short, NASA’s mission will operate through 2027 and aims to have its first flight later this year.