Space Shuttle Flow Viz

When a space shuttle lands, a lucky few will hear twin sonic booms as it passes overhead. The double boom occurs due to the shock waves from in front of the shuttle and just behind it passing the observer on the ground. The colorized schlieren photograph above shows shock waves on a model of an early shuttle prototype. The fore and aft shocks that run from the craft to the ground are even clearer on this photo of a T-38 in flight. (Photo credit: Gary Settles)

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