When NASA’s next X-plane takes to the skies, it will produce some pretty cool images.
Thanks to the completion of a recent flight test series at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, the agency is a step closer to being able to visually capture the shockwaves of NASA’s future Low Boom Flight Demonstration aircraft, or LBFD.
In this schlieren image, an Air Force Test Pilot School T-38 is shown in a transonic state, meaning the aircraft is transitioning from a subsonic speed to supersonic. Above and beneath the aircraft, shockwaves are seen starting to form. These shockwaves propagate away from the aircraft and are heard on the ground as a sonic boom. NASA researchers use this imagery to study these shockwaves as part of the effort to make sonic booms quieter, which may open the future to possible supersonic flight over land.
Originally published by Cosmos as The start of a sonic boom
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.