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Capturing the Boom
NASA and industry partners are working to develop technologies that will reduce the noise and annoyance associated with sonic booms so that aviation authorities can consider lifting the prohibitions on
overland supersonic air travel. An Armstrong research team is designing and executing tests to record various aspects of sonic booms. The tests capture numerous aircraft boom signatures through innovative recording methods, planning, and piloting techniques and are primarily used to advance NASA's understanding of how booms are formed and propagated.
Work to date: The Armstrong team and a number of industry partners have identified and validated several methods and techniques for capturing and measuring sonic booms. A notable method is the Boom Amplitude and Direction Sensor (BADS), which employs six pressure transducers widely spaced on the vertices of an octahedron. Similarly, Supersonic Notification of Over Pressure Instrumentation (SNOOPI),
an all-weather pressure transducer system, records local sonic booms by date, time, and intensity, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. This test equipment, in conjunction with more traditional microphones, is used to record sonic booms generated through special piloting techniques specifically designed for sonic boom placement and mitigation. From these methods and techniques, the Armstrong team has collected test
data from various projects to determine how F/A-18 dive maneuvers may create lower-level and focused booms.
Looking ahead: The team will continue to advance NASA's understanding of sonic boom phenomena via sonic boom tests and data analysis. This includes potential research in atmospheric turbulence effects on sonic booms and community response to low booms. These activities will play a key role in the testing of an anticipated low-noise sonic boom flight demonstrator aircraft.
Partners: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Dassault Aviation, Gulfstream, The Boeing Company, Pennsylvania State University, Wyle, Cessna Aircraft Company, NASA's Langley Research Center, and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
Armstrong's Research and Engineering Directorate is responsible for the overall engineering content of flight research projects. Our engineers provide technical expertise in aerodynamics; guidance, navigation, and control; propulsion; static and dynamic structures; flight hardware and software; flight and ground test instrumentation and data systems; and system engineering and integration. They apply their expertise across the spectrum of Armstrong's many activities and also support the development and continual evolution of engineering tools and test techniques. Here are highlights from a few recent and particularly notable engineering success stories.
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