NASA has captured unprecedented photos of the Interaction of shockwaves from two supersonic aircraft, part of its research Into developing planes that can fly faster than sound without thunderous “sonic booms”.
When an aircraft crosses that threshold around 1,225 km per hour at sea level lt produces waves from the pressure lt puts on the air around lt, which merge to cause the ear-splitting sound.
ln an lntricate manoeuvre by pilots at NASA’S Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, two super
sonic T-38 jets flew just 30 feet apart below another plane waiting to photograph them with an advanced, high-speed camera the agency said.
The rendezvous- at an altitude of around 30,000 feet -yielded mesmerising images of the shockwaves emanating from both planes.
With one jet flying just behind the other, “the shocks are going to be shaped differently” , said Neal Smith of , Aerospace Computing Inc., an engineering firm that works with NASA, in a post on the agency’s website.
Mr. Smith added, “This data is really going to help us advance our understanding of how these shocks interact booms can be a major nuisance, capable of not just startling people on the ground but also causing damage – like shattered windows and this has led to strong restrictions on supersonic flight over land in jurisdictions like the United States.