Sonic booms occur when merge of shock waves created by breaking the sound barrier at a speed of 1,235 km/h. The tremendous amount of sound energy, approx 110 decibels, generated by sonic booms sound like thunder claps or explosions and can be heard 48km away, which is why supersonic commercial flights are banned by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
NASA engineers working on Commercial Supersonic Technology (CST) project tested the agency’s boom reduction technology and its predictive capabilities on a small-scale model of an X59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft, in NASA Glenn’s 8-by-6-foot supersonic wind tunnel. The X59 is dubbed as son of the Concorde, the first supersonic passenger carrying commercial airplane.
The small-scale model was tested for 2 weeks and the shock wave measurement results matched the computer-modeled shock waves that suggesting quieter supersonic flights.
The FULL SCALE X59 QueSST is currently being built by NASA & Lockheed Martin Aerospace Company in Lockheed Skunk Works Division in Palmdale, California. The supersonic aircraft is expected to begin initial testing in late 2022. And if the plane successfully completes testing, NASA will verify that the plane’s quiet, supersonic technology performs in flight as designed.
The CST project aims to reduce the sonic boom to make it much quieter. Clayton Meyers, Deputy Project Manager of the CST project said: “This is an opportunity for the team to get data on the low-sound levels produced in tunnel.
If X59 proves the ability to reduce the noise of sonic booms and supersonic flight is allowed for commercial travel, X59 could fly from London to New York in just 3 hours. The aircraft, which is 29.5m long & 9m wide, is specially designed to minimize sound of sonic booms.
We could at least reach supersonic speeds in flight while we waiting for teleportation to become a daily transport model.