Nasa plans to test its supersonic aircraft over residents in Texas to gauge noise levels in its latest move towards commercially viable supersonic flights.

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.

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A minimum of 500 people will give feedback on noise levels after the aircraft perform a dive manoeuvre and go supersonic, creating in the process what Nasa has termed "sonic thumps" later in November this year.

The move is part of the space agency's plan to help develop the X-59, a quieter technological vehicle being produced by Nasa's supersonic jet team.

While the X-59 is not expected to test flight until 2021, and community overflights are unlikely to happen before 2023, achieving quiet supersonic flight could potentially lead the way to greater prevalence in commercial markets.

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In conjunction with aeronautics giant Lockheed Martin, the X-59 currently under development by Nasa is geared towards creating supersonic travel at a far quieter level. It is being designed to fly at 1,100mph at an altitude of 55,000 feet.

Original Article

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