October 15, 2018

NASA Reveals The Name Of Its Quiet Supersonic X-plane

05 July 2018, 02:15 | Edward Lowe

"This X-59 now being built by Lockheed Martin with NASA will become the low-boom generator used in flights over communities

NASA intends to fly the X-59 over several towns or cities and gather data from residents on the ground about their perception of the sound the supersonic aircraft generates.

NASA has been working on improving air travel for over four decades now and numerous flight designs, airport and runway innovations, and engine and control systems can be traced back to NASA research.

This November, onlookers will get to hear a so-called "quiet" sonic boom as a supersonic military jet zips through the skies of Galveston, Texas, according to NASA. The Gulf Coast city was chosen because it was next to the Gulf of Mexico, which enables the F/A-18 to keep its louder sonic booms (near the dive point) out to sea, while throwing the quieter sonic thumps (far forward of the dive point) at Galveston.

When traveling at supersonic speeds, those faster than the speed of sound in air, these air molecules are pushed aside with such considerable force that the individual pressure waves merge and form a shockwave. Diving at the speed of sound, the jets will produce two types of sonic booms that'll help NASA determine their sound profile at the ground level.

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Fighter jet F/A-18 Hornet aircraft will be flown over Galverston in Texas, creating "quiet" sonic booms so that Nasa can find what people deem as an acceptable volume of noise produced by supersonic flight.

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.

"We'll never know exactly what everyone heard".

An initial test of the research methodology using the F/A-18 was conducted in 2011 with the help of the U.S. military community that lives on base at Edwards Air Force Base in California. We won't have a noise monitor on their shoulder inside their home.

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The QueSST is expected to debut by the end of 2021, NASA said.

But these new regulations may still be years away. This is why the F/A-18 is so important to us as a tool.

Loubeau said "Testing in the fall will really help us in knowing how we'll ask survey questions, how we're making noise measurements, and then how we're analyzing the data".

In the video below you can hear a traditional sonic boom at the 43-second mark and a sonic thump at the 02:34 mark.

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