Re: NASA develop new Supersonic

Message posted by Peter Merlin on June 01, 2016 at 7:58:31 PST:

NASA is working to develop a quieter supersonic airplane. The idea is to shape the aircraft in such a way that will reduce the shock wave that produces a sonic boom. Instead of a sharp, loud, boom, it would make a much less noticeable boom so as not to annoy people on the ground beneath the flight path.

Supersonic flight is currently prohibited over most populated areas because people don't like to be startled by sonic booms, or are concerned that the shock waves will read windows or otherwise damage property or frighten livestock. If new technology can be developed to make supersonic aircraft quieter, then it may one day be possible to change the law to once again allow supersonic airplanes to fly anywhere over the U.S. Under the current law, a supersonic airliner like the Concorde could fly across the Atlantic from London to New York at Mach 2, but then had to slow to subsonic speeds for a second leg from New York to Los Angeles. That kind of defeated the purpose of having a supersonic transport in the first place.

NASA is planning to fund a supersonic X-plane to demonstrate this new technology. I believe that Lockheed Martin won the contract. It will likely have a top speed of less than Mach 2.

The science and technology are the easy parts. Changing the law will take more time.

In Reply to: NASA develop new Supersonic posted by calimike on May 31, 2016 at 20:39:49 PST:


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