Imagine flying from New York to Los Angeles, normally a six-hour ordeal, in under three hours. NASA is hoping that will one day be a reality as it works to prove that quiet supersonic commercial travel is possible.
The agency will be conducting a series of flights in November off the shores of Galveston, Texas, an island city outside of Houston. It’s a test to determine how to best study people’s reactions to quiet supersonic jets.
“This project, QSF 18, is a test so we can test the methodology for future community response testing for projects like the LBFD,” said Larry Cliatt, principal investigator for NASA.
LBFD is NASA’s low boom flight demonstrator—a supersonic aircraft that reduces the sound of the sonic boom. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company is working with NASA on its design. With low boom flights, NASA said it “intends to gather data on how effective quiet supersonic technology is in terms of public acceptance.”
The Federal Aviation Administration generally prohibits supersonic flight over land.