NASA has verified the readiness of its Lockheed Martin-built supersonic X-plane for final assembly and systems integration.
The X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology aircraft has passed the Key Decision Point-D review in which management staff conducted evaluations, the space agency said Monday.
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works performs construction duties on X-59 under a $247.5M contract that NASA announced in April last year.
The aircraft is designed to generate sensor-based data while performing at reduced noise levels. Gathered data will inform policymakers on commercial supersonic air travel.
“We have everything in place to continue this historic research mission for the nation's air-traveling public,“ said Bob Pearce, associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA.
The managers will assemble again late next year to greenlight the X-plane's maiden flight in 2021.
Work stations for the aircraft's wing, main fuselage and empennage are under preparation. NASA intends to finish final assembly by late 2020.
The space agency's work on X-59 falls under the Integrated Aviation Systems Program's Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project.