Here's Your First Look at the Freshly Painted X-59, NASA’s Quiet Supersonic Plane NASA and Lockheed Martin showed off the X-59 supersonic plane in Palmdale, California, on Friday.


Commercial faster-than-sound travel over land doesn’t happen anymore—but in the U.S., it could soon, with the debut of a new experimental plane developed by NASA and Lockheed Martin. The X-59 aircraft is designed to test out sonic boom-less supersonic flight, producing only sonic ‘thumps’ as it speeds through the skies.

 But we know you want to see the plane, so click through for some early shots from Friday’s unveiling.

I’m pretty satisfied with my reflexes on the screenshot here, to capture the first look at the plane before the curtain had completely fallen to the floor. Just the plane and people in awe, living in the moment. The X-59 has been photographed before but now has a new paint job: white with red and blue accents.

The X-59 is very slender, to make it more aerodynamic. Its designed research speed is Mach 1.4, or an eye-popping 925 miles per hour.

The needle-like nose of the plane is distinctive, but so is the back end. Its single engine actually sits on top of the plane, as seen here.

Another unconventional aspect of the X-59: its cockpit does not have a front-facing windscreen or windshield. Instead, the pilot has a set of screens to show what lies before the aircraft.

In this artist’s concept of the X-59's cockpit in flight, you can see how a screen projects what is in the aircraft’s flight path.

This angle allows one to appreciate just how nosey the X-59 is. The fog on the ground appears for dramatic effect.

Another nose-on view of the plane, is shown in a short video at the end of the plane’s unveiling. You can expect to have many more views like this as NASA works toward the aircraft’s first flight, slated for later this year.

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