Air International 2020-09
K.Chapman - The X Factor
A NASA-operated F/A-18 Hornet test aircraft, serial number 161355, conducted a series of research flights near Galveston, Texas. These tests informed how data would be collected when the X-59 performs similar overflights.
A NASA-operated F/A-18 Hornet test aircraft, serial number 161355, conducted a series of research flights near Galveston, Texas. These tests informed how data would be collected when the X-59 performs similar overflights.
Рисунок, на котором изображена посадка самолета X-59
An X-59 concept touch down. Although the aircraft is longer than a business jet, its cockpit is more akin to those used in fighter jets.
Concept artwork of the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) demonstrator.
A Schlieren image depicting how the shockwaves will build up on the X-59 when it is travelling at supersonic speeds. This method of photography was invented to study supersonic motion by German physicist August Toepier in 1864. NASA scientists use Schlieren images to see the pressure waves generated by an aircraft pushing air molecules out of the way when travelling faster than sound.
The X-59's final assembly area at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ facility in Palmdale, California. The empennage and nose are also currently in production and will be delivered here to be fitted.
A concept shot of the X-59. Lockheed Martin test pilot, Dan ’Dog’ Canin, will be at the controls during its early days of flight testing.
The X-59's cockpit section is a unique feature of the aircraft. Shown here during production, space has been made for its side windows but not a forward cockpit window - because there isn’t one. Instead, the platform will employ NASA's innovative XVS suite.
Production of the X-59 continued despite the outbreak and global spread of COVID-19 and the company really adapted to the added challenge that the pandemic presented to remain on schedule. Note that the engineer here is wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while working on the QueSST's fuselage.
In June 2020, engineers and technicians at Skunk Work attached the QueSST's wing and cockpit sections together.
Throughout the build process, Skunk Works has leveraged a Combined Operation: Bolting and Robotic AutoDrill (COBRA) system. The application drills, countersinks and inspects holes, increasing accuracy and overall manufacturing speed. COBRA's involvement in the X-59's production marks the first time the system has been employed by the company.
Elegant and simple in design the X-Plane sports a hollow nose that is 35ft long. Filled with air, it weighs just 300 lbs.
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works' X-plane will cruise at 55,000ft and Mach 1.4.
Under the skin of the X-plane demonstrator shaping up to make a quiet supersonic comeback, thanks to a unique design and engineering partnership.