NASA Completes X-59 eXternal Vision System Tests


NASA’s Langley Research Center has completed its final round of testing on the eXternal Vision System (XVS) for the agency’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft. According to NASA, the system has already been shipped to X-59 builder Lockheed Martin for installation. Designed to replace a forward-facing window, the XVS is a camera and display system aimed at providing “an augmented reality view of the X-59 pilot’s forward line-of-sight along with graphical flight data overlays.”

“The QueSST aircraft is on a mission to achieve supersonic speeds over land that create no more than a sonic ‘thump’ to those below,” NASA said. “In order to achieve this, NASA engineers have designed a uniquely shaped aircraft with an elongated nose that requires the cockpit to sit low in the main body of the aircraft, leaving no place for a forward-facing window.”

As previously reported by AVweb, NASA announced that X-59 assembly had reached the halfway point last December. The QueSST aircraft is expected to complete its first flight next year. NASA has said it is planning to begin noise testing on the X-59 in 2023 followed by a series of flights to gauge community responses to the aircraft’s sound in 2024.

Image: Lockheed Martin

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Kate O’Connor works as a senior editor at AVweb. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.


  1. I hope they have more luck with the view system than Boeing and USAF on their newest tanker.

    Like weather guessers without a window, don’t think I could trust a plane without one either…but then again, did the engineers design for pilots or “specimens”?

  2. How many times is NASA gonna test sonic boom demo airplanes … until they run out of other people’s money? I worked on a project like this nearly 20 years ago funded by NASA and DARPA and … here we go again.

    AND, yeah … a pop up periscope would be a wise back up. Are the FAA people who are OCD over safety gonna allow this thing to fly over people?