System Positions Supersonic Aircraft in Flight

Supersonic Aircraft Image

NASA flight-tested a visual navigation system designed to enhance precise aerial positioning between two aircraft in supersonic flight. The Airborne Location Integrating Geospatial Navigation System (ALIGNS) was developed to prepare for future acoustic validation flights of the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology airplane .

A shock-sensing probe , mounted to the nose of an F-15, will measure the X-59’s shock waves. For the probe to take accurate measurements, the F-15 will need to fly in and out of the X-59’s shock waves at precise distances.

ALIGNS will create a virtual point on the shock wave that is produced from the target aircraft. The pilots will get directional cues on the ALIGNS display to help them steer the F-15 to that specific point in space.