PALMDALE, CA—NASA has released a time-lapse video showing the progress Lockheed Martin (LM) has made in building NASA's X-59 QueSST test aircraft at LM's Skunk Works factory here. The X-59 QueSST (Quiet SuperSonic Technology) is being built to prove that, by combining a new aerodynamic shape, engine configuration and video-enabled controls, the agency can reduce the amount of noise generated by sonic booms.

The X-59 is undergoing the Low Boom Flight Demonstration test program, which involves running the aircraft through a series of flight tests that use microphone arrays. These arrays are installed on the ground to record sound levels as it travels as fast as Mach 1.42 (937mph). 

X-59’s first flight is planned to take place next year, with flights over populated communities planned for 2024.

Gathered test data is essential to internationally reversing a ban on commercial supersonic flights over land. The ban has existed since the first and only supersonic passenger aircraft Concorde operated between the UK, France and the USA in 1976.

Several companies in the USA are currently developing supersonic passenger aircraft, including Boom, Spike Aerospace and Exosonic.