NASA plans to publicly test its quiet supersonic technology this year

NASA tests ‘quiet’ supersonic jet which will go from London to New York in three hours

NASA tests ‘quiet’ supersonic jet which will go from London to New York in three hours

Until now, NASA says the plane had simply been called the X-plane and that it has a shape that prevents the shockwaves to come together, which is what produces that dreaded booming sound.

The shining star to this entire thing is supposed to be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' X-59 "QueSST", which is created to produce sonic thumps rather than the booming sounds other jet fighters usually give out. NASA is reportedly developing a "quiet" supersonic aircraft that could potentially revolutionize air travel. Producing an aircraft without the supersonic boom would be absolutely game changing for aviation.

Now flying supersonic aircraft over land is prohibited - due to shock waves that are formed at supersonic speed glider perceived by people on the ground like an explosion.

NASA is trying to build a supersonic jet that can break the sound barrier while avoiding ear-splitting sonic booms altogether, Live Science previously reported - but they're not there yet.

Using the F/A-18 and its ability to aim quiet sonic thumps at a specific area, teams from Armstrong, Langley Research Center in Virginia, and Johnson Space Center in Texas plan to conduct a series of data-gathering flights over Galveston, Texas, in November this year. The venue helps divert the loud sonic booms to the sea and keep the quieter sonic thumps in the city.


The U.S. Air Force assigned the X-59 number to NASA's experimental supersonic plane and let the agency know on Tuesday, NASA officials said in a statement Wednesday (June 27).

The X-59 is scheduled for delivery by the end of 2021. In the meantime, flight tests - such as the ones in Galveston with the F/A-18 Hornet - will help the agency gather data that may one day help lift federal and worldwide bans on supersonic flight over land, NASA said.

Several attempts to revive supersonic air travel are ongoing.

If the tests go as planned, "instead of getting a loud boom-boom, you're going to get at least two quiet thump-thump sounds, if you even hear them at all", Haering said. Another company, Spike Aerospace, is developing its own S-512 Quiet Supersonic Jet, which would have similar performance.

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