Photo by Robert Sullivan on Flickr.com
Aeronautical pioneers aim to break the sound barrier once more with the aid of NASA’s QueSST project, but this time in a completely different way that may one day allow all of us to fly by air at speeds comparable to or faster than any of the X-1 pilots who reached supersonic speed.
If successful, NASA plans to utilize QueSST to show that the X-59 can fly faster than sound without causing the typically loud sonic booms that caused supersonic flight over land to be banned in 1973.
As part of the strategy, the X-59 will fly over several neighborhoods to see how locals react to the quieter “thump” it emits, provided they even hear anything at all. After receiving their feedback, regulators may develop new regulations to remove the prohibition.
75 years ago, the first attempt was made.
When a small group of experts from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA’s precursor organization, heard the thunder crack, the Bell X-1 rocket plane was reportedly moving faster than the speed of sound, according to NASA.
The sound barrier was broken on October 14, 1947, by the combined X-1 team of NACA, the Air Force, which was also established that year, and Bell engineers and pilots. This feat was thought to be unachievable by some.