NASA to test ‘quiet’ supersonic flights over Texas

Nasa plans to test its supersonic aircraft over residents in Texas to gauge noise levels in its latest move towards commercially viable supersonic flights. Lockheed Martin is building the jet for NASA to develop the technology needed for quiet supersonic aircraft for future commercial travel. NASA recently announced the upcoming demonstration over a coastal resort city in Texas, hoping to officially determine and ensure that this new technology will be truly quiet as it breaks the sound barrier, reports CNN. By using this data, they'll then feed it into their sonic boom-killing research program, one that hopes to design supersonic-but-silent planes.

When traveling at supersonic speeds, those faster than the speed of sound in air, these air molecules are pushed aside with such considerable force that the individual pressure waves merge and form a shockwave.

From November, the U.S. space agency 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.

An initial test of the research methodology using the F/A-18 was conducted in 2011 with the help of the USA military community that lives on base at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

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", Alexandra Loubeau, NASA's team lead for sonic boom community response research at Langley, Virginia, said in a statement.

The so-called "quiet" X-59 QueSST is set to debut in 2021.

"With the X-59, you're still going to have multiple shockwaves because of the wings on the aircraft that create lift and the volume of the plane", Ed Haering, a NASA aerospace engineer at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, said in the statement. This will help establish a new testing process for the X-59 when it gets built.

"Instead of getting a loud boom-boom, you're going to get at least two quiet thump-thump sounds, if you even hear them at all". NASA isn't planning to do community overflights with the QueSST until 2023, the agency said. Clues again to keep the sky back to the F/A-18 makes rolls where it relates and does the screw through Mac 1.

Examples of the tests in action can be seen in the video below. You can hear a double boom at 43 seconds and a thump at 2:34.

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