NASA Will Test Supersonic Flights Over Texas

NASA will Publicly Test Aircraft with Quiet Supersonic Tech This November

NASA will Publicly Test Aircraft with Quiet Supersonic Tech This November

The device will likely be called X-59 QueSST.

In November 2018, NASA will publicly test a "silent supersonic technology" flights. According to a report by the MIT Technology Review, air travel in supersonic speeds was banned in the U.S. since 1973, because of the loud noises. Virgin Galactic and Boom Technology are working together to build a supersonic jet capable of flying at twice the speed of sound - about 1,451 mph (2,335 km/h) - to cut the travel time from New York City to London down to 3 hours. Before being taken out of service, Concorde's speed was restricted over certain land routes because of disruptive sound waves. The X-59 QueSST could make supersonic flight more economical, provided the experiment over Galveston works.

During the tests, the F/A-18 Hornet will dive through the air, making louds sonic booms over the Gulf of Mexico and quieter booms over the coastal city of Galveston.

NASA says that it will continue to carry out testing flights over other USA towns in order to gather more ground information; this of course will happen only after Lockheed Martin is able to properly construct the aircraft and NASA is able to establish the proper noise credentials.

While the X-59 is not expected to test flight until 2021, and community overflights are unlikely to happen before 2023, achieving quiet supersonic flight could potentially lead the way to greater prevalence in commercial markets.

Some background: Supersonic travel over land has been banned in the U.S. since 1973, owing to the huge noise produced when a plane breaks the sound barrier. "But the airplane's shape is carefully tailored such that those shockwaves do not combine". They are being fronted with funds by Japan Airlines, who issued the company $10 million for their supersonic endeavor.

According to NASA, instead of hearing two loud booms as the X-59 breaks the sound barrier, you'll hear two softer "thumps". Spike will be testing out its S-512 Supersonic Jet around the end of this year.

"For everyone working on this important project, this is great news and we're thrilled with the designation", Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, said in the NASA statement.

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