NASA to announce quiet supersonic research flights in Galveston

NASA will conduct a series of supersonic technology research flights over the Galveston area, in support of the agency’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project.

The flights, which will take off from nearby Ellington Airport, will take place in November and feature a NASA F/A-18 aircraft performing a series of supersonic dive maneuvers off the coast. This will produce a sound that will mimic the predicted sound signatures of NASA’s recently announced Low Boom Flight Demonstration X-plane, or LBFD.

This flight campaign will help NASA determine the best way to collect community response data for future supersonic flights, once NASA’s LBFD aircraft is ready to fly.

NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project manager Peter Coen said most likely, you won't see it, but will hear it.

“Our quiet supersonic dive maneuver creates a sound that represents a sound of a future supersonic aircraft, but it does it over a relatively small area, so having a really dense population is important,” said Coen.

They chose Galveston because flying over the water reduces the sound. The flights will perform a series of supersonic dive maneuvers off the coast.

“You may see a unique trail, as the airplane starts the dive maneuver. Some of the sounds out of the water  may be startling,” said Coen.

He said 500 participants in the research will have noise monitors. The noise should not harm humans, pets or homes.

NASA is testing planes that can get places faster.

For more information about NASA’s aeronautics research, visit:

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