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NASA gathers data in support of future quieter supersonic aircraft

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NASA tests ways to soften sonic booms

NASA is continuing with a series of research tests to support the potential for future quieter supersonic aircraft. The loud sonic boom will sound like a soft thump, or distant thunder. NASA's SonicBAT II (Sonic Booms in Atmospheric Turbulence) team recently flew a series of flights at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to better understand sonic booms and the effects they have on the atmosphere. This is part of a series of tests to gather data that is used to validate tools and models that will be used to help develop future aircraft with quiet supersonic capabilities.

NASA expert discusses sonic booms

Ed Haering is a NASA expert on sonic booms, who leads research on Sonic Booms in Atmospheric Turbulence (SonicBAT II). The SonicBAT II team is gathering data that will be used to lessen noise from sonic booms for future super-sonic aircraft. The team flew a pair of F-18 jets out of Kennedy Space Center to generate sonic booms for research purposes.

Every aircraft traveling supersonic, which is faster than Mach 1, generates a continuous shock wave that creates a carpet of sonic booms. That carpet can be 50 miles wide. Listeners on the ground hear the double sonic boom as the shock wave passes over. Haering discussed the sonic boom heard when a Falcon 9 touches down at Landing Zone 1, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, along with the sonic booms heard from the F-18 flights in the SonicBAT II test. Read more here.

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