Phenomena

Challenges of Commercial Supersonic Flight

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Years ago as I sat on a plane taxiing at Heathrow, I caught a glimpse of a Concorde out on the tarmac. My classmates couldn’t understand why I was so excited to see that funny looking plane, but even as a high schooler, I was fascinated by the prospect of flying faster than sound.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of challenges to overcome in making supersonic flight widely available — fuel efficiency, cost effectiveness, and sonic boom control, to name a few. This video delves into some of the major issues and touches on some of the recent work at NASA and other organizations studying the problem. Perhaps as new technologies develop and mature we’ll once again see faster-than-sound air travel outside of rocket launches and military jets. (Video and image credit: TED-Ed)

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