FIDELL ASSOCIATES INC
The Supersonics Project is aligned with the ARMD principles of maintaining intellectual stewardship of aeronautical core competencies for the nation in the supersonic flight regime and of focusing research in areas that are appropriate to NASA?s unique capabilities. The Project supports the Fundamental Aeronautics Program strategy of developing systems level multidisciplinary capabilities for supersonic civilian and military applications. The Supersonics Project is a broad-based effort designed to develop knowledge, capabilities and technologies that support vehicles that fly in the supersonic speed regime with a focus on eliminating the efficiency, environmental and performance barriers to practical supersonic cruise vehicles. The Project has identified a set of key Technical Challenges that are barriers to success for this vehicle type. The efforts described in this SOW address the Sonic Boom Modeling Technical Challenge.
Successful supersonic civil aircraft must be capable of supersonic flight over land. However, the sonic boom that occurs when aircraft travel at speeds greater than sound is perhaps the most significant environmental barrier to supersonic commercial flight. In the near term, the Supersonics project is emphasizing understanding and overcoming this barrier, both through the development of approaches to reducing sonic boom noise and improving understanding of the impact of these reduced noise booms.
Existing knowledge of the impact of sonic booms on the community is based primarily on experiments conducted during the 1960s (Concorde and the U.S. Supersonic Transport (SST) Program) and the 1980s (NASA?s High Speed Research (HSR) Program). In the former work, it was concluded that high-amplitude sonic booms (Concorde ~2 psf) were clearly unacceptable to a large segment of the population, and overland flight was prohibited. Although much progress was made in modeling the sonic boom and its effects during HSR, the boom levels achieved were still unacceptably loud.
The Supersonics project is developing technologies that potentially will lower the boom to acceptable levels. There is very little data on the effects of such booms, and the project therefore has adopted a three-pronged approach to studying the atmospheric effects, transmission into structures, and human reaction to these booms.
Past efforts to acquire data on human reactions to sonic booms in community settings have relied either on face-to-face interviews or interviews conducted by telephone (land line). Mobile telephone technology provides the potential to acquire a wide variety of human reaction data not possible by other means. The technology allows 2-way interaction between the experimenter and the respondent, enabling convenient, near real time, on-demand interviews for reactions following a sonic boom, as well as allow for spontaneous reactions (complaints) to a sonic boom. The mobile telephone?s Global Positioning System (GPS) technology allows for the Government to identify that the respondents is or is not in the immediate vicinity of their home at the times of occurrence of the sonic booms, and of their range and bearing to the flight creating the boom. The mobile telephone technology also provides the capability of rapid, reliable, and cost-effective communication of questionnaire responses to a central data repository. The use of this technology to survey human reactions to sonic boom will provide us with more timely and more effective information.