Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

NASA's X-59 supersonic aircraft has reached a critical milestone

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jun2,2024

NASA supersonic aircraft X-59 Reaches Critical Milestone

NASA 's X-59 quiet supersonic aircraft project has reached a critical milestone with the completion of a flight readiness review, paving the way for future flight tests.

NASA has moved forward with the airworthiness review of its quiet X-59 supersonic aircraft, completing a critical review that will allow it to move forward to flight.

An independent Airworthiness Review Panel, made up of experts from across NASA, has completed a detailed evaluation of the X-59 project team's safety strategies for the public and personnel during ground and flight testing. The board scrutinized the team's assessment of potential hazards, focusing on safety and risk identification.

Statistics and next steps for flight readiness

The flight readiness review is the first step in the flight approval process. The council's work will provide the X-59 team with information and guidance on systems testing on the ground and in the first flight.

«It's a no-no,'' — said Kathy Baum, project manager for NASA's Low Boom Flight Demonstrator. "We will get action from the board and work with them to address it and work on the airworthiness review and flight safety".

Abatement of sonic booms

< p>NASA and prime contractor Lockheed Martin are developing the X-59 to reduce the sonic boom to a quieter “thump.” The plane is at the center of NASA's Quest mission, which will use it to gather data that could revolutionize air travel, potentially paving the way for a new generation of commercial aircraft that can fly faster than the speed of sound. Commercial supersonic flights above the ground were banned for more than 50 years due to the noise of sonic booms.

X-59 Team Update

«The Flight Readiness Review focused on specific aspects of the X-59 team's work on the aircraft, but also served as a review and update of the entire project&raquo ;, — said Jay Brandon, chief engineer of the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project.

"It gave us an opportunity to stop for a minute and put together everything we had done so we could tell our story not only to the board but to the entire project team,— said Brandon.

Once the airworthiness review is complete, the next safety milestone will be the upcoming airworthiness and flight safety review.

The Airworthiness and Flight Safety Review Board includes senior leaders from several NASA and Lockheed Martin centers. He will review the findings of the flight readiness review, as well as the project team's response to these documents. The board will send a recommendation to the director of NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, who signs the certificate of airworthiness.

Finally, the team will provide a technical brief to another review board based on the test objectives, how the tests will be conducted, the risks involved, and measures to reducing the risks the team has taken. The X-59 team would have to address any issues raised in the briefing before a board of directors led by NASA Armstrong Chief Engineer Cynthia J. "CJ" Bixby will sign the flight request.

"This is a really exciting time in the project,— said Bam. "It's not an easy road, but we have a limited set of activities ahead of us.

The Way Forward

There are significant steps to be taken before flights begin. The X-59 team is preparing for major ground tests to come, focusing on system integration engine performance and electromagnetic interference.

The X-59 aircraft is a bold, new design, but many of its components are derived from well-established aircraft, including landing gear from an Air Force F-16 fighter, a cockpit from a NASA T-38 trainer, and a stick control system from an Air Force F-117 stealth fighter are among the pieces.

"None of these systems have ever worked together before," , — said Brad Neal, chairman of the X-59 Airworthiness and Safety Review Board. "This is a completely new thing that we are developing, although these are components that have been on various legacy aircraft. As we begin integration testing, this will be a great learning opportunity.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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