New Probe Could Improve Sonic Boom Investigation

A new supersonic probe affixed to a F-15B flight test fixture might one day measure the sonic booms of a new generation of supersonic aircraft. (NASA Photo/Lauren Hughes)

An air data probe intended to improve investigation of sonic booms is flying on the F-15B aircraft at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center. NASA's goal for sonic boom research is to find ways to control and lessen the noise from shockwaves so that federal regulators will allow commercial supersonic flight over land.

Later flights will look at shockwaves generated by another nearby supersonic aircraft and are expected to obtain more accurate data than traditional probes. The new probes could be used to measure the shockwaves generated by future supersonic aircraft. The data could help improve aircraft design tools that would ultimately reduce the loudness of sonic booms.