NASA Assisting In Development Of Ultra-Quiet Supersonic Airliner

Chris Greenhough - Author
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Nov. 3 2016, Updated 5:46 p.m. ET

When they’re not busy drawing giant space penises on Mars, the folks at NASA are researching and testing new ways for us mere earthlings to travel.

Said research includes finding a way to develop a supersonic airliner that’s quiet enough to legally fly over land.

If they succeed, it could see the return of supersonic air travel, as offered by Concorde, the excessively noisy Anglo-French supersonic airliner that was retired in 2003.

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Boeing has already submitted new concepts for futuristic supersonic airliners designs to NASA. In the designs, the engines are on top of the plane to shield the ground from their roar, while a V-shaped tail funnels the sonic boom backwards. This, suggests Boeing, would keep the boom in the air for longer, keeping it away from your precious ears (and hopefully encouraging authorities to reverse the rules on commercial supersonic flight).

NASA is now testing Boeing’s concepts at its Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The space agency says:

“We are testing overall vehicle design and performance options to reduce emissions and noise, and identifying whether the volume of sonic booms can be reduced to a level that leads to a reversal of the current ruling that prohibits commercial supersonic flight over land.”

Concorde, you probably won’t recall, boasted a cruising speed of Mach 2.04. To you and me, that’s roughly 2,179kph, or 1,354mph, some way ahead of current passenger airliners.

If NASA can find a way to reduce the noise of supersonic planes, we could all be flying back to the future soon.

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