Future of Supersonic Travel: From Sonic ‘Boom’ to Sonic ‘Thump’

“NASA has been working for decades, essentially, on looking at technologies to take the ‘boom’ out of ‘boom,'” says Peter Coen, NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project manager. “We’d like to have sonic thump or just sonic sound. The idea is to design the airplane so that the shock waves that are produced in supersonic flight are arranged in such a way that you just have a gradual pressure rise which produces a quiet sound.”

“Supersonics has been a dream for a long time,” Coen continues. “It would cut your travel time in half. It’s a good industry for the U.S. to be getting into. Subsonic commercial airplanes are being built worldwide now. We need new vehicles to maintain our leadership in commercial aviation.”

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