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Watch: Nasa’s new ‘quiet’ supersonic jet unveiled for first time

Holly Patrick
Friday 12 January 2024 20:57 GMT
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Watch as Nasa reveals its X-59 aircraft on Friday, 12 January, as part of the agency's Quesst mission to make commercial supersonic flight possible.

It is the first time the public saw the painted aircraft, which was unveiled during a ceremony hosted by prime contractor Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California.

Nasa has described the X-59 as the "centerpiece" of its Quesst mission to study sound and help reduce the sonic boom made by supersonic flight to a sonic "thump."

Sonic booms, which happen when the shock waves from an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound merge together before they reach the ground, generate enormous amounts of sound energy at around 110 decibels - comparable to the sound of an explosion or a thunderclap.

After the aircraft undergoes assembly and testing, Nasa's Quesst team will select several US communities to fly the X-59 and gather data on how people perceive the sound it produces.

That data will then be sent to international regulators for analysis to potentially adjust current rules that prohibit commercial supersonic flight over land in the US.

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