NASA to Show Windowless X-59 Airplane Cockpit Next Week

Back in June, the world found out in surprise that NASA’s new experimental supersonic airplane will feature no forward-facing window, leaving the pilot at the mercy of a 4K monitor that’s being fed images from two cameras outside the aircraft. Next week, the concept will be shown for the first time in public.
X-59 QueSST screen instead of front window 5 photos
NASA QueSST airplaneNASA QueSST airplaneNASA QueSST airplaneNASA QueSST airplane
On August 26, at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, the eXternal Visibility System (XVS) as it’s called will be demonstrated for the first time and explained to the crowd of journalists by test pilots that are involved in the project.

XVS is part of the X-59 QueSST prototype NASA will use to demonstrate it is possible to fly a supersonic airplane over populated areas without causing the expected disturbances. The ultimate goal is a return to supersonic passenger transport, this time faster and quieter than what the Concorde had to offer.

Currently, supersonic flight over land is prohibited, as a result of the significant number of claims filed between 1950 and 1960.

It’s not yet clear whether the use of the XVS instead of the actual window helps in any way in this respect. The choice to use this system is even more peculiar as the screen covers only the front of the plane, while the two portals and canopy are still real windows.

Lockheed Martin will build the prototype of the X-59 in 2021 when work on all the needed systems is complete. The plane will then begin flight tests, hoping to prove it can generate only 60 dB of sonic boom, the volume you get in a normal conversation with a friend, compared to the 200 dB a sonic boom can generate.

The plane is designed to fly at Mach 1.4, or about 1,100 mph (1,770 kph), twice the speed of today’s commercial airliners and close to the maximum speed achieved by the Concorde.


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