The experimental X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft, or QueSST, which Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is building for NASA, is now on its way to the company’s plant in Fort Worth, Texas. Once there, the jet, which is being designed to explore sonic-boom-mitigating technologies that could have significant impacts on the future of supersonic flight, will undergo structural testing ahead of a planned first flight next year.
Photographer Aldo Boccaccio grabbed pictures of the aircraft under wraps on a semi-trailer in Marana, Arizona earlier this week and was kind enough to share them with us. The plane has been under construction at Skunk Work’s facility at the U.S. Air Force’s Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, since 2018. Lockheed Martin confirmed to The War Zone that the current plan is to truck the X-59 to its Texas plant, which is best known for hosting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter assembly line, for structural tests before bringing it back to Palmdale for the initial round of flight testing. It does seem somewhat curious that such a fragile, one-off design would be moved via road instead of something like a U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy transport plane.
NASA’s X-59 Quiet Supersonic Test Jet Spotted On A Trailer Heading To TexasNASA’s X-59 Quiet Supersonic Test Jet Spotted On A Trailer Heading To Texas