NASA wants to make this dream a reality. At the Armstrong Flight Research Center, just outside of Lancaster, California, the space agency is working on the X-59 QueSST (short for Quiet SuperSonic Technology) airplane, a demonstrator aircraft designed to fly faster than the speed of sound generating nothing more than a “sonic thump,”
Traditional supersonic aircraft can create a sonic boom in excess of 100 decibels during flight, a problem that led the US Federal Aviation Administration to ban commercial supersonic flight over land in 1973.
Throughout 2022, Lockheed and NASA have been conducting initial checks on the X-59, but the real test of the aircraft comes with the first flight. That happens in 2023 when in what’s known as the “acoustic validation” phase when NASA will fly the X-59 to ensure the sonic boom has been satisfactorily scaled back to a sonic thump.