NASA set to test 'quiet' supersonic flights

NASA set to test 'quiet' supersonic flights

The test flight of X-59 isn't expected to start before 2021, and there will be no community overflight before 2023. It will publicly demonstrate and test a flight manoeuvre that allows jets to travel faster than sound without generating the characteristic sonic boom.

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. NASA hopes to crack the secret to much quieter supersonic flights in the hopes that it can cut down on the disruptive sound and make high-speed air travel an easier pill to swallow for people living beneath highly-trafficked routes.

While NASA is not the only ones working on a supersonic flight design, they believe their uniquely shaped structure design will achieve what others have been unable to do thus far.

NASA recently awarded Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company a United States dollars 247.5 million contract to build a faster-than-sound X-plane - official designated X-59 "QueSST" - that will demonstrate quiet supersonic technologies in straight and level flight over a large area. Ed Hearing, an aerospace engineer over at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, explained how carefully mastered this jet is.

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"Once fully tested and pronounced safe to fly within the National Airspace, the X-59 in late 2022 will begin making supersonic flights over select communities to measure residents' reactions to any noise they might hear", NASA explains of future tests.

According to NASA, instead of hearing two loud booms as the X-59 breaks the sound barrier, you'll hear two softer "thumps". This is why the F/A-18 is so important to us as a tool.

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 noise problem has dogged aeronautical innovators looking to create a follow-up to the Anglo-French Concorde project since the aircraft retired in 2003. 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. They are being fronted with funds by Japan Airlines, who issued the company $10 million for their supersonic endeavor.

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