NASA’s Supersonic X-59 Stifles Sonic Booms And You’re Invited To The Rollout Watch Party

hero nasa x59 aircraft
NASA is preparing to rollout its supersonic X-59 airplane, and it wants everyone to watch. The space agency is rolling out the red, white, and blue carpet for anyone that wants a virtual VIP seat to the ceremony in the California desert (snacks not provided).

The X-59 supersonic aircraft was moved to the paint barn at Lockheed Martin Skunk Work’s facility in Palmdale, California late last year. NASA remarked that it would be receiving a red, white, and blue paint scheme, with a mainly white body, a NASA “sonic blue” underside, and red accents on the wings. While the paint job brings a feeling of patriotism to the onlooker, it also provides protection for the aircraft from moisture and corrosion, and includes what NASA refers to as “key safety markings to assist with ground and flight operations.”

“We are incredibly excited to reach this step in the mission,” remarked Cathy Bahm, the low boom flight demonstrator project manager. “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.”

nasa x59 cockpit
The pilot of the X-59 will navigate using a 4K monitor that serves as the central window.

NASA hopes that the supersonic jet will take the breath of all those attending the unveiling virtually as well. To heighten the excitement, the space agency says it will include printable invitations, links to STEM-related activities, and a complete X-59 Watch Party Planning Guide. There is already a webpage on NASA’s website where students and educators can download a 3D-printing file.

The X-59 is part of the Quesst mission, which has two primary goals. The first, to design and build a research aircraft with technology that reduces the loudness of a sonic boom to resemble that of a “gentle thump to people on the ground." The second, to fly the X-59 over select US communities to gather data on human responses to the sound generated during supersonic flight and then deliver that data to US and international regulators.

For those interested in watching the rollout of the X-59 live, they can do so via a live broadcast on the NASA+ streaming service, beginning at 4pm EST on January 12, 2024. The event will also be broadcast live on the NASA app, YouTube, and on NASA’s website.