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 Nov. 14, 2023. Once it is painted, the team will take final measurements of its weight and exact shape to improve computer modeling.
“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.