NASA Creating Quite Supersonic Aircraft.
NASA’s mission to create a quiet supersonic aircraft that could revolutionize air travel has moved a step closer with plans for tests over Texas.
The space agency has announced it will publicly demonstrate its technology near the coastal resort city of Galveston to ensure that its prototype really will be barely audible when it crosses the sound barrier.
Creating a supersonic aircraft that doesn’t produce sonic booms would be a game-changer for aviation. Before being taken out of service, Concorde’s speed was restricted over certain land routes because of disruptive sound waves.
If NASA’s experimental project — formerly known as the X-plane or “Low-Flight Flight Demonstrator” but recently renamed X-59 QueSST — works, it should help make supersonic flight more economical.
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.
By performing dives at the speed of sound, the jets will produce two types of sonic boom in order to truly determine the sound they produce on the ground.
According to NASA, Galveston was chosen as the testing area as it’s located near the Gulf of Mexico, allowing the fighter jets keep louder sonic booms out to sea, while hurling quieter sonic “thumps” into the city.
NASA recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to build the highly anticipated aircraft.