In February 2016, Lockheed Martin was awarded a preliminary design contract, aiming to fly in the 2020 timeframe. A 9% scale model was to be wind tunnel tested from Mach 0.3 to Mach 1.6 between February and April 2017. The Preliminary design review was to be completed by June 2017. While NASA received three inquiries for its August 2017 request for proposals, Lockheed was the sole bidder.
On April 2, 2018, NASA awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to design, build and deliver in late 2021 the Low-Boom X-plane. On June 26, 2018, the US Air Force informed NASA it had assigned the X-59 QueSST designation to the demonstrator. By October, NASA Langley had completed three weeks of wind tunnel testing of an 8%-scale model, with high AOAs up to 50° and 88° at very low speed, up from 13° in previous tunnel campaigns. Testing was for static stability and control, dynamic forced oscillations, and laser flow visualization, expanding on previous experimental and computational predictions.
From November 5, 2018 NASA was to begin tests over two weeks to gather feedback: up to eight thumps a day at different locations will be monitored by 20 ...