Production of NASA’s new X-59 supersonic jet continues amid coronavirus outbreak

Production on NASA’s new X-59 supersonic X-plane despite closures and delays in the space industry caused by the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

In a March 20 statement, NASA officials said that “in California, work continues by Lockheed Martin on X-59, NASA’s first large-scale, piloted X-plane in more than 30 years, while NASA oversight and inspections will be conducted almost exclusively virtually.”

“Lockheed Martin is continuing with X-59 production operations, and the only on-site NASA presence is a Quality Assurance representative when needed for the GMIPs (Government Mandatory Inspection Points),” said Craig Nickol, NASA’s Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project manager, in a statement provided to Space.com. 

Video: Watch NASA and Lockheed start building the X-59 supersonic jet!
Related:
Trump’s 2021 NASA budget request supports X-59 jet 

Final assembly for the supersonic plane, which was officially named X-59 QueSST in 2018, was greenlit during a critical design review in 2019. The plane is designed to travel over land faster than the speed of sound. But, unlike earlier supersonic planes, its main draw is that it will supposedly create an ultraquiet sonic boom, making it much less of a disturbance to the general public. 

As a Lockheed Martin representative told Space.com in February, “We’re very confident. All kinds of modeling simulations and predictions align, so we believe, based on these models and simulations we’ve run, that it will achieve that low-boom sound once it reaches supersonic speeds.”

The supersonic X-59 QueSST is not the only new X-plane NASA is continuing work on amid the coronavirus pandemic. The agency is also making advances on its new X-57 all-electric plane, NASA spokesperson Sasha Ellis of the Langley Research Center said via email.

The supersonic X-59 QueSST is not the only new X-plane NASA is continuing work on amid the coronavirus pandemic. The agency is also making advances on its new X-57 all-electric plane, NASA spokesperson Sasha Ellis of the Langley Research Center said via email. 

Discussing further how work is progressing amid coronavirus, the spokesperson recently told Space.com that “work is also continuing on NASA’s X-57, the agency’s first all-electric X-plane.”

“The team is maintaining communication and getting parts in place for functional tests, taxi tests, and eventually flight tests,” Matt Kamlet, NASA’s X-57 public affairs specialist at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, said in the statement.

Follow Chelsea Gohd on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Source: space.com

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