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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday June 27 2017, @10:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the what's-that-whooshing-sound dept.

NASA says the preliminary design review of its Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) project suggests it is possible to create a supersonic aircraft that doesn't produce a sonic boom.

NASA says "Senior experts and engineers from across the agency and the Lockheed Martin Corporation concluded on Friday that the QueSST design is capable of fulfilling the LBFD aircraft's mission objectives, which are to fly at supersonic speeds, but create a soft 'thump' instead of the disruptive sonic boom associated with supersonic flight today."

NASA's commercial supersonic technology project manager Peter Coen explains, in this video, that "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 don't have a boom. You have just a general kind of a gradual pressure rise that produces a quiet sound."

NASA's next step is finding organisations willing to build a working model of the Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) experimental airplane and fly it over American cities and towns to hear how much noise it makes. It's hoped those flights could start in 2021.

Nah, rather travel in the kind of zeppelin Sergei Brin is building.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Trump Administration Supports NASA's Quieter Supersonic Plane Design 25 comments

Trump Backs Supersonic NASA Jet That Will Fly From New York to London in Three Hours

A sleek, experimental plane that would quietly crack the speed of sound and transform a trans-Atlantic flight into a three-hour hop received critical backing on Monday under NASA's budget request for the fiscal year that starts October 1, 2018. The document signals the Trump administration would like to prioritize the jet, as well as further research into faster-than-sound airplane technology.

The budget request refers to the Low-Boom Flight-Demonstrator, a plane NASA wants in order to bring back supersonic commercial flights by mitigating their most annoying side effect, the loud sonic boom that accompanies them.

That boom has always been the biggest stumbling block for commercial supersonic flight. It is caused by the sheer number of air particles the nose of the plane pushes aside as it flies. Those molecules form a wave of high pressure, like a boat's wake as NASA describes it, which rolls out like a carpet beneath the airplane.

Also at Space.com.

Related: NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport
Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight
NASA Tests Light, Foldable Plane Wings for Supersonic Flights
NASA Releases 2018 Edition of Spinoff


Original Submission

NASA Awards Quiet Supersonic Aircraft Contract to Lockheed Martin 4 comments

NASA has awarded a contract to create a relatively quiet supersonic jet plane to Lockheed Martin:

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, California, was selected for the Low-Boom Flight Demonstration contract, a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract valued at $247.5 million. Work under the contract began April 2 and runs through Dec. 31, 2021.

Under this contract, Lockheed Martin will complete the design and fabrication of an experimental aircraft, known as an X-plane, which will cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of about 940 mph and create a sound about as loud as a car door closing, 75 Perceived Level decibel (PLdB), instead of a sonic boom.

NASA plans to fly the "X-plane" over U.S. cities starting in 2022 in order to "collect data about community responses to the flights".

Also at Popular Mechanics, Newsweek, and Wired.

Previously: NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport
Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight
NASA Tests Light, Foldable Plane Wings for Supersonic Flights
Trump Administration Supports NASA's Quieter Supersonic Plane Design


Original Submission

NASA is Showering One City With Sonic Booms and Hoping No One Notices 8 comments

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

NASA is showering one city with sonic booms and hoping no one notices

NASA has been deliberately creating sonic booms off the coast of Galveston, Texas, since Monday in the hope that residents on the barrier island community won't be too bothered by the sound of an F/A-18 aircraft briefly going supersonic.

That's because the research jet is performing a dive maneuver designed to reduce the normally thunderous sonic boom to what NASA calls a "quiet thump," more like the sound of a car door slamming.

The test flights are aimed at measuring the community response to the new, quieter booms and are part of NASA's larger effort to develop a new, more muted supersonic plane that might be able to fly over land.

Previously: NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport
Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight
NASA Tests Light, Foldable Plane Wings for Supersonic Flights
Trump Administration Supports NASA's Quieter Supersonic Plane Design
NASA Awards Quiet Supersonic Aircraft Contract to Lockheed Martin


Original Submission

NASA's Quiet Supersonic Plane Cleared for Final Assembly 9 comments

NASA's X-59 QueSST cleared for final assembly

NASA's first large scale, piloted X-plane in more than three decades is cleared for final assembly and integration of its systems following a major project review by senior managers held Thursday at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The management review, known as Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D), was the last programmatic hurdle for the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft to clear before officials meet again in late 2020 to approve the airplane's first flight in 2021.

"With the completion of KDP-D we've shown the project is on schedule, it's well planned, and on track. We have everything in place to continue this historic research mission for the nation's air-traveling public," said Bob Pearce, NASA's associate administrator for Aeronautics.

Jonny Quest Rusty Venture was unavailable for comment.

Also at BGR.

Previously: NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport
Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight
Trump Administration Supports NASA's Quieter Supersonic Plane Design
Quieter, Faster, Stronger: The Next Jet Age Is Coming


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27 2017, @11:13PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27 2017, @11:13PM (#532181)

    Coming from NAS Miramar jets in San Diego in the 1960s.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27 2017, @11:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27 2017, @11:50PM (#532196)

    Shape them like this [pinimg.com], and you won't hear a thing. At least it won't be a cacophony [youtube.com].

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday June 28 2017, @12:02AM (4 children)

    by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @12:02AM (#532200)

    Having lived in the path of Concorde (far from the airport itself), the noise problem isn't really the sonic boom. It's the engines which are capable of supercruising which are loud.
    A B-1B, with similar engine configuration, might be more familiar to Americans. You don't want that at low altitude near your place.

    The sonic boom was a protectionist excuse from the US. A Boeing version would have been cleared to fly here.
    The Oil crisis and the lack of enough trendy rich destinations didn't help, when massive planes turned out to be the sweet spot.

    But I guess gas is getting cheaper, so we can talk about using an order of magnitude more of it, to save our elites a few hours to that meeting they could have had remotely on the web.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @01:07AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @01:07AM (#532219)

      It will be used for lunch in Europe but dinner in Thailand. Meetings, ha!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:12PM (#532441)

      The sonic boom was a protectionist excuse from the US.
      You write that as if it were established fact. Having grown up in Germany under F-4 sonic booms, I remember them scaring the bjeezus out of people. You would be in the middle of some activity, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere and without warning, comes this massive bang. I'm sure the booms caused a number of heart attacks.

    • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:39PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:39PM (#532464) Journal

      Where did you live?

      I lived close to JFK in Ozone Park and you could hear it. My grandparents lived in Howard Beach and I remember that deafening roar. It was so loud that you had to cover your ears as it was painful. I don't know how people lived right under that runway path. After they retired the Concord, many people threw parties in HB.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:53PM (#532698)

      Protectionism from American plane makers, right.
      They actually looked into building one of their own but decided it made no business sense. Guess what? They were right.

  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:32AM (7 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:32AM (#532250)

    There's a reason airlines fly at about 550 MPH. As you approach the sound barrier fuel MPG drops, fast. Hit the boom, MPG starts to level out again. But if memory serves going -10% speed of sound has better MPG than +10% speed of sound.

    That said, as the booms were the biggest problems before, if they can kill it then maybe they can offer long flights for maybe 20% less time and 20% more money.

    --
    In this month in 1958 Project Snot was started. This has upset many people and is widely considered a bad idea.
    • (Score: 2) by fishybell on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:54AM (1 child)

      by fishybell (3156) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:54AM (#532256)

      Recollection says the biggest reason they stopped the flights of the Concorde wasn't that one crashed, but that they weren't selling tickets like they needed. Fuel consumption and ticket prices were so high that continuing the flights was just not realistic after the perceived PR disaster that a single crash was.

      Oh, and they also blamed terrorists [wikipedia.org].

      • (Score: 2) by Zinho on Wednesday June 28 2017, @03:00PM

        by Zinho (759) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @03:00PM (#532476)

        Recollection says the biggest reason they stopped the flights of the Concorde wasn't that one crashed, but that they weren't selling tickets like they needed.

        My Materials professor at university had a slightly different take on this. According to him, the entire Concorde fleet needed refitting/replacement at once, and (as you say) they weren't making the money needed to pay for the fleet update.

        The technical reason for the need to ground the fleet is interesting from an engineering standpoint. Unlike steel, Aluminum and Titanium are susceptible to fatigue cracking under cyclical loads of any magnitude: steel has a minimum threshold of stress needed before a crack will start, whereas Al and Ti will start to crack no matter how low the stress is as long as there is a load-unload cycle going on.

        On most airplanes there are indicator systems to watch so you know when to take a part out of service. For example, there's an engine rotation counter so you know when to replace your aluminum engine block; there's also a machined-in crack initiation point on aluminum support struts placed where it's easy to inspect, and when the diagnostic crack reaches a certain length you pull it out of service and replace all the aluminum parts on the plane.

        Unfortunately for the Concorde, the entire plane was made of Titanium, and the frames were reaching the end of their service life. The company knew that there were probably hard-to-find cracks throughout the structure, and it would soon be unsafe to fly them anymore - structural failure in flight is even harder to brush off than a popped tire on takeoff. Since they were all built at about the same time they all needed replacing at the same time. The entire fleet was basically good for nothing but scrap for melting down to forge new parts. The company either hadn't saved the money needed to rebuild, or decided that they'd rather pocket the cash and shut the service down rather than spend it on new planes that wouldn't deliver a good return on investment.

        That's my professor's story, anyhow, and he's sticking to it. It at least sounds plausible from a technical and financial point of view.

        --
        "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Wednesday June 28 2017, @06:26AM (4 children)

      by anubi (2828) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @06:26AM (#532300) Journal

      Here's hoping that instead of using all that energy disturbing the air and making all that noise, this new plane slips through the atmosphere like a watermelon seed slips through the fingers.

      The last thing we all need right now are new airplane designs that are all bark and no bite. ( Like some motorcycles I know... loud noisy thing that seems to spend more energy making noise than moving the bike. )

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @08:27AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @08:27AM (#532327)

        Like some motorcycles I know... loud noisy thing that seems to spend more energy making noise than moving the bike.

        I heard explanation that it's a safety feature ... apparently, bikes have low visibility, so allegedly they need to be heard from inside car cabins, from a distance.

        • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Wednesday June 28 2017, @08:43AM

          by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @08:43AM (#532330)

          I heard explanation that it's a safety feature ... apparently, bikes have low visibility, so allegedly they need to be heard from inside car cabins, from a distance.

          For some reason the visibility is apparently only an issue with mostly one brand of bike.

        • (Score: 1) by Rich26189 on Wednesday June 28 2017, @10:51PM

          by Rich26189 (1377) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @10:51PM (#532678)

          If the pipes pointed forward I'd believe it.
          Have a friend that rides a Harley, he told me that at times when he's out riding in a group there are some that are asked to ride in rear of the pack.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:41PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:41PM (#532693)

          ...besides being rattly, slow, crap bikes, that is:

          (South Park clip)
          https://vimeo.com/15758959 [vimeo.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @08:39AM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @08:39AM (#532329)

    Normal flight LA to NY:
    1 hour commute
    2-3 hours TSA, check-in etc.
    5.5 hours flight
    1 hour getting out of airport (getting bags etc)
    1 hour commute
    total time: 9-11 hours?

    How much faster will supersonic be? 2.5 or 3 hour flight time? That just reduces the total trip time to 7-9 hours.
    How much more would you pay for that reduction? Enough to cover the extra fuel costs?

    There may be a market for quieter military supersonic jets. And there may be a market for quieter supersonic private jets, since they don't need to go through TSA (till someone charters a private plane and blows stuff up?), and if you're rich enough to have a supersonic private jet, you might cut commute with a helicopter to the airport.

    But is there really a market for supersonic airliners? Airliners have been getting slower. The Boeing 707 cruising speed (977kph) is faster than a 777 (892kph) and 787 (903kph). Airbus A380- 903kph. The 747 = 920-930 kph.

    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:20PM (4 children)

      by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:20PM (#532444) Journal

      That's why I prefer high-speed train travel to all others, because it significantly cuts down all the other time costs you mentioned, even if the time to cover the distance is a little longer. Plus, it goes from city center to city center and always hooks into local mass transit, so getting the last mile to your hotel or whatever is easy, fast, and cheap. The scenery from a train is always better than from a jet at altitude, and you can get up and walk around a train the way you can't in a plane.

      Obviously trains don't work too well to cross oceans, so there's still a role for air travel, but for everything else it's awesome.

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Wednesday June 28 2017, @03:03PM (3 children)

        by LoRdTAW (3755) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @03:03PM (#532478) Journal

        I'm not a fan of flying. But that's more of an anxiety problem. But I do agree that train travel is quite nice. Smooth quiet ride that feels like you're on a plane but with beautiful scenery (after you get out of north NJ). I take an Amtrak train to visit a friend outside of Baltimore. Less stressful than driving and I can sleep, play on my phone and listen to music or even watch netflix.

        BUT. Coast-to-coast is not practical. For fun I looked up an Amtrak trip to CA. The price one way was competitive with flying. However, the travel time was absurd. A little over three days total travel time with multiple transfers, one with a 6 hour layover. Compare that to just six hours for a plane.

        • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday June 28 2017, @04:02PM (2 children)

          by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @04:02PM (#532501) Journal

          I agree coast to coast is no fun if you're trying to get somewhere and if you don't have a cabin. But the model i had in mind is train travel in europe on the TGV or japan on the shinkansen. The engineering on those is phenomenal--even at those speeds a glass of water won't even jiggle a little.

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @06:28PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @06:28PM (#532563)

            But coast-to-coast is a large part of the US market. I'm always mystified how seemingly-rational people can claim that the US needs more high-speed rail. Meanwhile, railways in the USA are profitable, while european ones require massive subsidies.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:50PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:50PM (#532696)

              The train only starts to look competitive if you deliberately make all other transportation modes unpleasant: don't construct adequate parking for cars, have bullshit TSA style security burdens at the airport, etc.

              Trains are just inflexible and slow for long distance travel.

              The only way they make sense is if you design your entire city and suburbs around the train, something most countries do not do.

    • (Score: 1) by Booga1 on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:38PM

      by Booga1 (6333) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:38PM (#532461)

      Do you really think people getting on the new "Concorde" would be waiting in line for the TSA?

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