Sonic booms usually mean something cool. The space shuttle is coming in for a landing or a jet fighter is flying overhead. We don’t hear them very often, so when we do it’s an event.
But imagine if aircraft manufacturers designed and built a vehicle that carried passengers or cargo at supersonic speeds over land. Sonic booms would be happening all the time; and they’re loud and annoying. That’s why the Concorde flew over the ocean. Noise regulations in most countries wouldn’t allow it to fly over land because of the sonic booms it generated.
Sonic booms are keeping a new era of supersonic cruise flight from happening.
For us to ever be able to enjoy the benefits of flying people or cargo over land at super-fast speeds, we have to figure out how to turn down the volume on sonic booms.
NASA has been doing flight tests and simulations and ground experiments — with cool names like “Quiet Spike,” “SonicBOBS,” “SonicBREW,” “LaNCETS,” “House VIBES,” “Low Boom/No Boom” – to help find answers.
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