NASA has announced of testing “quiet” supersonic flights over Texas that could revolutionise air travel. The space agency said on Tuesday that it will publicly demonstrate its technology near the coastal resort city of Galveston to ensure that its prototype really will be barely audible when it crosses the sound barrier, reports CNN. If NASA’s experimental project — formerly known as the X-plane or “Low-Flight Flight Demonstrator” but recently renamed X-59 QueSST — works, it should help make supersonic flight more economical.
From November, the US space agency will use supersonic F/A-18 Hornet jets over Galveston to mimic the sonic profile of the X-59 while a group of around 500 residents document the noise levels. By performing dives at the speed of sound, the jets will produce two types of sonic boom in order to truly determine the sound they produce on the ground.
According to NASA, Galveston was chosen as the testing area as it is located near the Gulf of Mexico, allowing the fighter jets keep louder sonic booms out to sea, while hurling quieter sonic “thumps” into the city. NASA recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to build the highly anticipated aircraft.