It's a week full of anticipation for the NASA: their thoroughbred, X-59. The aircraft, otherwise known as "the son of Concorde", left its construction site to head towards preparations for its maiden and subsequent flights.
To make sure the aircraft is well-built and ready to take to the skies, the NASA team is preparing to perform a series of critical ground tests. There's no room for error when it comes to supersonic speeds. Starting with X-59, the return to supersonic flights would mark the rebirth of a mode of travel that had its golden age in the 70s and 80s with the legendary Concorde, but which was interrupted due to problems of safety and environmental impact.
Sonic bang or whisper?
The real test bed will be a flight of the X-59 at supersonic speed over different communities. The target? Measure their reactions to the "sonic boom" produced during high-speed flight. Or should I say "sonic whisper"? Maybe somewhere in between. NASA puts a lot of emphasis on noise reduction prosotto.
The results of these tests will be shared with regulatory bodies both in the United States and internationally. And they could reopen the way for the resumption of commercial supersonic flights on our planet.
The plane that could revive the Concorde era
"With the X-59, we will collect data on how communities react to the acceptability of a muffled sonic boom made possible by the unique design of the aircraft," Lockheed Martin explains. The design of the X-59, with its long needle-shaped fuselage and wing tips, was designed to minimize stress, making the supersonic flight experience much more comfortable.
This data will help NASA provide regulators with the information needed to establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard, which could eliminate the requirement for commercial supersonic flying over seas only.Lockheed Martin
Is X-59 the future of air travel?
Opening this door could give birth to a whole new global market for aircraft manufacturers. It would allow passengers to reach virtually any part of the world in half the time currently required.
The X-59 has the potential to create many faster routes, but certainly the unknown cost of a ticket on this XNUMXst century Concorde remains. Will it be a luxury for a few or will it become a reality within the reach of many?