8 June 2020
Despite the use of advanced design tools, the team developing NASA’s X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) demonstrator cannot be sure it will meet their “low-boom” goals until the jet actually breaks the sound barrier in flight. Although design features that reduce sonic booms are understood, the team faces the challenge of ensuring that the X-59 QueSST retains its unique boom-softening shape while in flight. It is also unclear how sound from the jet will move through the atmosphere.
Those questions will be answered through flight testing, which the team expects will begin …