The annoying sonic boom is a part of flying at supersonic speeds. Concorde had taken to the skies to make such Commercial Flights possible, but the problem of the boom was difficult to tackle. There was a restriction on flying over the land which was one of many factors that affected the potential of the airplane to operate commercial flights. This Anglo-French aircraft was later withdrawn from service in 2003.

CNN reports that NASA has now entered the scene. It has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin for building the supersonic aircraft and ensure the absence of the annoying sonic boom when flying on commercial routes over land.

The final product will be delivered to NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center by the end of 2021.

NASA is hopeful

The issue of the sonic boom has to be resolved in order to have an aircraft that can operate commercial flights at supersonic speeds. NASA is determined to come up with a successor to the Anglo-French Concorde which will have the advantage of barely audible sonic booms. Once that happens, it will boost commercial air travel at supersonic speeds. The basic specifications of the aircraft with respect to its length, wingspan, and fully-fueled take-off weight have been defined. NASA plans to reduce the intensity of the sonic boom by making use of uniquely-shaped structures. Incidentally, there are others in the industry who are keen to revive supersonic air travel.

One of these is Japan Airlines. It has tied up with a Denver-based company and has given itself a decade to make its presence felt.

The story of Concorde

The Anglo-French Concorde was the first transport aircraft that was capable of flying at supersonic speeds and handle commercial flights. According to The Sun UK, this aircraft entered service on January 21, 1976, and operated for 27 years.

It could attain a maximum speed of more than twice the speed of sound. A total of only 20 planes were built in France and the UK and operated by Air France and British Airways. The passenger numbers dropped following an Air France Concorde crash shortly after take-off from Paris in July 2000. All 109 people on board were killed, apart from four persons on the ground.

The Concorde was finally withdrawn from service in 2003 because of lack of passengers and rising maintenance costs.

It is now up to NASA to reenergize the concept of commercial flights at the speed of sound. If it is possible to maintain the intensity of the sonic boom at acceptable levels, it will be a welcome move and benefit long-distance air travel.