NASA is monitoring how residents near the Texas Gulf Coast react to quiet sonic booms from an experimental aircraft that could reduce commercial flight times by half.
The Houston Chronicle reports that the space agency on Monday launched a two-week research project on quiet supersonic research flights near Galveston. NASA is flying jets in a unique maneuver over the Gulf of Mexico to assess the community's response to the noise.
NASA officials are hoping the Galveston tests will help perfect supersonic flight, which has been an elusive goal for the agency.
Decades ago, NASA tested the Concorde, which could cross the Atlantic in just over three hours by traveling twice the speed of sound. But federal aviation officials banned the aircraft after residents complained about the plane's sonic boom.