Lockheed Martin Unveils Experimental Hypersonic Jet X-59 - M5 Dergi
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Lockheed Martin Unveils Experimental Hypersonic Jet X-59

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Lockheed Martin has showcased its latest development, the X-59 QuessT (Quiet SuperSonic Technology), an experimental hypersonic jet aimed at reducing sonic booms, as reported by Space.com.

When supersonic jets reach the speed of sound (1 Mach), they typically generate loud sonic booms that can be felt on the ground. However, the X-59 QuessT promises to produce a sonic boom akin to the sound of closing car doors, The Gaze wrote.

The video presentation reveals the aircraft’s unique geometry, with a sharp nose measuring 11.5 meters in length and a forward-facing cockpit without a windshield. Due to this distinctive design, X-59 pilots won’t have a direct forward view.

To compensate, pilots will utilize the External Vision System (XVS), developed by NASA, which consists of a forward-facing camera and a display installed in the cockpit. This system uses specialized software to process images from the camera and creates augmented reality visuals with graphical overlays of flight data.

Next, the X-59 QuessT will undergo ground tests before being flown over residential areas to gauge people’s reactions to the reduced sonic boom.

NASA plans to share all collected data with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States to obtain clearance for commercial supersonic flights. It’s worth noting that supersonic flights over land and near the coast have been prohibited in the U.S. since 1973. Nevertheless, NASA is hopeful that these advanced developments will lead to quieter aircraft, ultimately reducing travel time for domestic flights.

In addition, NASA recently announced a partnership with the Department of Defense to conduct nuclear engine space tests by 2027. Lockheed Martin will develop the power system, with NASA investing $300 million in the project. The fundamental idea behind the nuclear engine is simple: a nuclear reactor heats the propellant, possibly liquid hydrogen, which expands and creates thrust as it passes through a nozzle. Nuclear thermal rockets could be three or more times more efficient than conventional chemical rockets.

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