NASA prepares to break the sound barrier for the first time without sonic boom

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The US space agency NASA has announced that for the first time it will attempt to break the sound barrier without creating a violent sonic boom

Seventy-five years after the first supersonic flight, NASA’s Quesst mission aims to eliminate the thunderous booming sound of an explosion when breaking the speed of sound. It is hoped that this achievement will usher in a “new era” of high-speed commercial air travel.

“The first supersonic flight was a tremendous achievement, and now you look at how far we’ve come since then,” said Catherine Bahm, aeronautical engineer at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

“What we are doing now is the culmination of most of the work that has been done so far.

The sonic boom has so far blocked supersonic travel, with the US and other countries banning supersonic flights over land areas because of the disturbance the sound creates on the ground

At the center of NASA’s plan to suppress the sonic boom is the X-59 aircraft, currently being developed by Lockheed Martin as part of the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project.

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To reduce the intensity of the sonic boom and soften the noise, aeronautical engineers have changed the shape of the aircraft.

The first flights of the vehicle will take place in 2023, flying over neighborhoods to study how people react to the resulting quieter sonic “boom”.

The results will then be shared with regulators, who NASA hopes will consider lifting the ban on supersonic flight over land.

“We’ve been stuck at about 980 kilometers per hour with our airplanes for almost 50 years, so being able to go somewhere – anywhere – much faster is a dream that has yet to come true,” said Peter Coen, NASA’s Quesst mission integration manager.

“With the X-59 flying on the Quesst mission, I think we’re ready to break the sound barrier once again.

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