NASA’s quiet supersonic X-plane has a new name

An artist image of NASA’s X-59 QueSST supersonic aircraft, which the agency will use to test technologies for a quiet supersonic aircraft.


NASA’s experimental supersonic X-plane project has a new name: the X-59 QueSST.

So, what is the name? Well, the “X 59” is a nod back to the American X-plane history, which started with the world’s first supersonic airplane, the Bell X-1, the famous piloted by Chuck Yeager in 1947 when it broke the speed of sound. Yeager nicknamed the plane “Glamorous Glenis” after his wife, according to NASA. The “QueSST” a part of the X-59-moniker is a kind of a NASA-inside joke, which recognizes the space agency’s long quest (get it?) for a quiet supersonic technology, or SST.

The U. S. Air Force who is assigned to the X-59 number of NASA’s experimental supersonic airplane, and let the agency know on Tuesday, NASA officials said in a statement Wednesday (June 27). For receiving the X-number, NASA’s supersonic aircraft project was given the name of the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrationmission. Lockheed Martin is the construction of the jet for the NASA development of the technology necessary for a quiet supersonic aircraft for future commercial travel. [Photos: Amazing X-Planes throughout the Years]

“For everyone working on this important project, this is great news and we are happy with the name” Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s aeronautics research Mission Directorate, said in the NASA statement.

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The X-59 QueSST supersonic aircraft was included in the White House, and 2019 budget request for NASA earlier this year as part of a $633.9 million grant proposal for aviation research. But NASA is the development of the supersonic plane for years in the pursuit of the technology that makes it possible and affordable supersonic transport without the loud sonic booms that come with it.

Two other private projects, considering commercial supersonic travel. Virgin Galactic and Tree Technology are working together to build a supersonic jet capable of flying at twice the speed of sound — about 1,451 mph (2,335 km/h) — cut the travel time from New York to London to 3 hours. Another company, Spike Aerospace, is developing its own S-512 Quiet Supersonic jet, which would have similar performance. New York-London-trip usually takes up to 7 hours.

The most recent era of commercial supersonic air travel began in 1976 with the Concorde, a plane operated by British Airways and Air France. After a fatal crash in 2000, the last Concorde flew in 2003.

The Russian airline Aeroflot also flew commercial supersonic flights with the Tupolev Tu-144 aircraft. Commercial Tu-144 flights began in 1977 and ended in 1978 due to technical problems, according to NASA. The AMERICAN space agency used a modified version of the Tu-144, called the Tu-144LL, for research flights between 1998 and 1999, when the Tu-144 made its last flight.

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