Development for NASA’s X-59 aircraft has been in full swing for the last couple of months following a pause due to COVID. Now that things are ramping up again, NASA is awarding contracts to aerospace companies to assist in the development. The latest of these contracts has just been awarded to Lockheed Martin.
The newly assigned $40 million contract calls for Lockheed Martin to support the community overflight response phase of the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration. More specifically, the company will be responsible for providing extra structural components and subsystems for the X-59, reducing possible downtime during “high tempo operations.”
NASA’s X-59 aircraft is designed to fly at supersonic speeds while producing a minimal sonic boom sound. If all goes according to plan, NASA hopes the aircraft’s sonic boom noise will be akin to a car door slamming shut, something far quieter than a typical sonic boom that can even shatter windows.
In 2024, NASA plans on testing the X-59 by flying it over select communities and creating sonic booms. Afterward, the residents of those communities will be questioned on how audible the sonic boom sounds were. The data from these tests could then allow a future with commercial supersonic flights over land.