NASA’s X-59: A Supersonic Aircraft’s Patriotic Paint Transformation

NASA X-59 Red, White, and Blue

NASA’s X-59, set to undergo painting, is an experimental aircraft designed to lessen sonic booms. It is a key part of the Quesst mission, which aims to change perceptions of supersonic travel and influence regulations on commercial supersonic flight over land. Credit: Lockheed Martin

The X-59, part of NASA’s Quesst mission, is undergoing painting at Lockheed Martin. This aircraft aims to make supersonic flight quieter and more acceptable for overland travel.

NASA’s X-59 quiet supersonic aircraft continues to make progress, most recently moving to the paint barn at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ facility in Palmdale, California.

The X-59’s paint scheme will include a mainly white body, a NASA “sonic blue” underside, and red accents on the wings. The paint doesn’t just add cosmetic value. It also serves a purpose – the paint helps to protect the aircraft from moisture and corrosion and includes key safety markings to assist with ground and flight operations.

The aircraft made the move to the paint barn on November 14, 2023. Once it is painted, the team will take final measurements of its weight and exact shape to improve computer modeling.

NASA X-59 in Flight

Artist’s illustration of the X-59 in flight in blue skies and white clouds. Credit: RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom

“We are incredibly excited to reach this step in the mission. When the X-59 emerges from the paint barn with fresh paint and livery, I expect the moment to take my breath away because I’ll see our vision coming to life,” said Cathy Bahm, the low boom flight demonstrator project manager. “The year ahead will be a big one for the X-59, and it will be thrilling for the outside of the aircraft to finally match the spectacular mission ahead.”

The X-59 is an experimental aircraft designed to fly faster than the speed of sound while reducing the sound of the typical sonic boom to a sonic thump. The aircraft is the centerpiece of NASA’s Quesst mission. Through Quesst, NASA will fly the X-59 over several to-be-selected U.S. communities and gather data about people’s perceptions about the sound it makes. NASA will provide that data to regulators which could potentially adjust current rules that prohibit commercial supersonic flight over land.

3 Comments on "NASA’s X-59: A Supersonic Aircraft’s Patriotic Paint Transformation"

  1. So when is NASA going to begin its Noisy Supersonic Aircraft, whose tremendous BOOM will remind us poor slobs on the ground how the rich get special treatment. NOBODY needs to get to Japan in 2 hours. NOBODY.

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.