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NASA Conducts Quiet Sonic Boom Tests Near Texas Gulf Coast

Thursday Nov 8, 2018
In this April 17, 2018, photo Peter Coen, project manager of NASA's Commercial Supersonic Technology Project addresses the media at Scholes Field Terminal in Galveston, Texas
In this April 17, 2018, photo Peter Coen, project manager of NASA's Commercial Supersonic Technology Project addresses the media at Scholes Field Terminal in Galveston, Texas  (Source:Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via 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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