Military Embedded Systems

NASA, partners formally unveil the X-59 quiet supersonic aircraft


January 15, 2024

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Image courtesy NASA/Lockheed Martin

PALMDALE, Calif. NASA and its design partners officially rolled out the X-59 quiet supersonic research aircraft on Friday, January 12, at prime contractor Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works facility Palmdale, California. The X-59 is the centerpiece of NASA’s Quesst mission, which aims to make sonic booms quieter, one of the major challenges to supersonic flight over land.

The Quesst mission is focused on gathering data to help regulators reconsider rules that prohibit commercial supersonic flight over land; the U.S. and other nations have prohibited such flights over the last 50 years because of the disturbance caused by loud sonic booms on the communities below. According to NASA, the X-59 is expected to fly at Mach 1.4 (925 mph/1,490 kph), but is intended to generate a quieter sonic thump due to new design, shape, and technologies.  

Dave Schreck, vice president and general manager of Military Avionics & Helicopters for Collins Aerospace -- which provided the primary avionics system for the jet -- said of the rollout: "“The unveiling of NASA’s X-59 supersonic aircraft is a major milestone in aviation history that has the potential to transform our industry. Collins provided the primary avionics system onboard, including the navigation and communication systems. We look forward to working with NASA and our industry partners on the Quesst mission to advance the future of aerospace.”


Featured Companies

Rockwell Collins

2730 West Tyvola Road
Charlotte, NC 28217



300 E Street SW
Washington, DC, 20546

Lockheed Martin

6801 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817