NASA conducts quiet sonic boom tests near Texas Gulf Coast

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — NASA is monitoring how residents near the Texas Gulf Coast react to quiet sonic booms as the space agency works on an experimental aircraft that could reduce commercial flight times by half.

The Houston Chronicle reports that NASA launched a two-week research project Monday on quiet supersonic research flights near Galveston. NASA is flying an F/A-18 jet in a unique maneuver over the Gulf of Mexico to assess the community’s response to the noise.

NASA hopes the tests will produce data it can use when testing the X-59 low boom flight demonstrator, the experimental aircraft that NASA hopes could eventually reduce commercial flight times by half.

The Concorde aircraft, tested decades ago, could cross the Atlantic in just over three hours by traveling twice the speed of sound. But federal aviation officials banned it after residents complained about the plane’s sonic boom.

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This story has been corrected to show the test flights near Galveston are being conducted by F/A-18 jets, not the experimental aircraft, and that NASA didn’t conduct the Concorde tests.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com

Associated Press

Associated Press

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