What was the UFO-looking thing on I-10 | 12news.com

2022-04-24 07:44:45 By : Ms. Sieka Deng

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PHOENIX — This week, the Arizona Department of Transportation tweeted pictures of a bizarre object wrapped in blue plastic on a flatbed trailer parked alongside I-10 near Citrus Road asking what it was.

RELATED: Um, what? ADOT camera captures photos of truck hauling mysterious blue object.

It was clearly some type of plane, but with smaller, triangular wings, a blunt front end, and a strange tail shaped like a triangular prism standing on end. Immediately people thought they knew what it was. 

But, after some research, we believe we know what that mystery craft was.

We're 99% sure it's an aircraft called the X-59. 

It's a supersonic test jet developed by Lockheed-Martin and NASA to try and find ways to break the sound barrier without generating loud sonic booms. 

Those sonic booms have been the main barrier to supersonic air travel, since they're incredibly loud and disturb people on the ground. 

The X-59, however, should sound no louder than a car door slamming when it goes faster than the speed of sound. 

The X-59 is still in development and hasn't flown yet, but the airframe is built, according to NASA. It's scheduled to make its first flight sometime this year. 

So why do we think the blue UFO is the X-59?

The X-59 is not exactly secret, though it could be considered sensitive. 

NASA has kept the aircraft's development fairly public, so there are lots of photos and artists' renderings of what it looks like. 

It's 100 feet long with an extremely long and pointed nose, triangular "delta" wings, and a T-top tail. The X-59 also has small winglets called canards sticking out of the fuselage in front of the main wings. 

By comparing the ADOT photos to prior photos of the X-59, we were able to match up all the features of the plane to those of the aircraft wrapped in plastic. 

It also helps that NASA has released photos of the X-59 wrapped in blue plastic on a flatbed waiting for transport. 

The X-59 was being trucked to Texas in December of 2021 for stress testing on the airframe, according to NASA and Lockheed-Martin at the time. 

It was on that trip from Lockheed's Skunk Works in Palmdale, CA that Aldo Boccaccio spotted it parked on the side of the road near Marana, AZ.

"They just told me 'it's from Lockheed-Martin, that's all I can say'," Boccaccio said. 

The plane was wrapped in blue plastic, without the long nose cone, so it was significantly shorter than it should be.

But Boccaccio took some photos of it while it was parked. He hadn't seen the ADOT tweet until 12 News sent it to him. He confirmed that was the same plane he saw. 

But while the photos certainly line up and appear to be the same, we can't say with 100% certainty that the UFO is the X-59.

Lockheed-Martin would not confirm if the plane in the ADOT photo was the X-59. A spokesman said it was for security reasons. He also wouldn't say whether the plane was still on the road, but did confirm that the testing was finished in Texas and sent a statement:

"Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® is proud to support NASA in making flight quieter through the Low Boom Flight Demonstration mission. We continue to make progress on the build of the X-59 and are pleased that the aircraft is on track to return to California soon, where more work and further testing will be conducted in advance of completion, roll out, and first flight."

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