Without the boom: NASA testing ‘quiet’ supersonic flights

05 July, 2018, 02:17 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Without the boom: NASA testing ‘quiet’ supersonic flights

If new regulations are written, it could open up a new market for commercial supersonic air travel, according to the statement.

Sonic booms are shockwaves produced by an aircraft when it is traveling over the speed of sound. To counter this noise problem, the space agency has been hard at work since 2016 in building the X-59, an aeroplane that can fly over Mach 1 or break the sound barrier, but not produce any loud, booming sounds. The tests will be held by the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft around the coaster city of Galveston. It's a fluid dynamics thing: When an aircraft traveling through the air - the fluid - moves at increasingly fast speeds, the molecules of air at its nose get increasingly compressed.

Residents of Galveston, Texas will serve as "sonic thump" guinea pigs.

From November, NASA will use supersonic F/A-18 Hornet jets over Galveston to mimic the sonic profile of the X-59 while a group of around 500 residents document the noise levels - if there are any.

"We'll never know exactly what everyone heard".

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The shining star to this entire thing is supposed to be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' X-59 "QueSST", which is created to produce sonic thumps rather than the booming sounds other jet fighters usually give out. We won't have a noise monitor on their shoulder inside their home.

An initial test of the research methodology using the F/A-18 was conducted in 2011 with the help of the U.S. military community that lives on base at Edwards Air Force Base in California. "The scientifically valid data gathered from these community overflights will be presented to US and global regulators, who will use the information to help them come up with rules based on noise levels that enable new commercial markets for supersonic flight over land".

Using F / A-18 and aiming to keep quiet sonic thump in a specific area, plan to organize a series of data alongside Armstrong, Langley Research Center and Johnson Space Center in Texas as well as industry partners.

The QueSST is expected to debut by the end of 2021, NASA said.

Moreover, volunteer feedback on the F/A-18 flight tests will help scientists develop better survey questions, noise measurements and data analysis for the QueSST's eventual test flights, NASA said. A normal sonic double boom happens at 0:43, and a low boom occurs at 2:34 when the plane performs a special dive maneuver.

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