Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Here Comes The Boom: NASA Tests Sonic Booms Over KSC

An artist impression of the quieter supersonic jet developed by NASA and Lockheed Here Comes The Boom: NASA Tests Sonic Booms Over KSC
Theresa Hayes | 26 July, 2017, 05:24

SonicBAT's principal investigator Ed Haering wrote in a NASA blog post, "Turbulence can make sonic booms quieter, or it can make them louder". The agency tells Bloomberg that it'll start taking bids to build a larger (94-foot) real-world demo version of the aircraft that it tunnel-tested in June, and we now have a clearer sense of how well it'll perform in real life. The agency has designed a supersonic plane which promises to reduce your flight time by keeping the noise down as well.

That's more than twice as fast as the top speed of a normal passenger flight now - 660 miles per hour.

NASA's design was made in part by Lockheed (whose concept craft design is depicted above), and it is targeting sound levels equivalent to what you'd hear while driving a luxury auto on the highway, Bloomberg reports, or around 60 to 65 decibels, compared to the Concorde's 90 decibels.

NASA is working to bring supersonic speeds to commercial flights in the United States, which could cut travel times in half. That would make it safe to fly just about anywhere. The infamous Concorde was limited to overseas flights due to its 90 dBa sound level.

Testing the proposed aircraft will cost the space agency £300 million over a five-year period. In practice, it could cut the flight time from NY to Los Angeles in half, to 3 hours. This isn't the same as a passenger aircraft, alas, but not to worry. Other problems include high carbon emissions and airport noise.

The tests will begin August 21, and the teams hope to collect data from 33 sonic booms, Armstrong Flight Research Center public affairs officer Matt Kamlet told Florida Today.

In November 2016, Sir Richard Branson announced plans to launch a new supersonic passenger jet, also dubbed Concorde II, that would be able to race between London and NY in just three-and-a-half hours.

They will be created by a series of NASA tests that will explore the impacts of low-altitude atmospheric turbulence on sonic booms.

Still, if everything goes as planned, NASA will test the demo plane over as many as six communities beginning in 2022, Coen says.