Supersonic Aircraft

Supersonic travel: Dead on arrival?

By Keith Button

February 1, 2024

Aerospace engineers want to help us all get where we’re going faster — possibly at supersonic speeds. Many also care deeply about environmental sustainability. Can this conflict be resolved? Keith Button looks at the science.

Supersonic twist

By Aaron Karp

February 1, 2023

Engine design will be key to reviving commercial supersonic air travel in a way that is affordable and environmentally palatable. After a setback in September, Colorado-based Boom Supersonic believes it now has the right engine team and approach. Aaron Karp tells the story.

NASA’s boom buster

By Paul Marks

November 1, 2022

Society has changed in the years since NASA announced it would commission construction of an experimental plane to target sonic booms. Environmental sustainability is now the mantra among commercial aircraft designers and operators, and the industry’s zest for supersonic flight has cooled. With the X-59’s first flight approaching, Paul Marks tells the story of the plane’s remarkable engineering and why NASA still believes it can catalyze supersonic flight for all.

Dueling strategies

By Keith Button and Cat Hofacker

February 28, 2020

The companies leading the resurgent interest in supersonic travel have unique visions for how to normalize flight at speeds over Mach 1. Keith Button and Cat Hofacker tell the story.

Supersonic thump

By Jan Tegler

November 1, 2019

NASA’s Low Boom Flight Demonstration Program could help pave the way for supersonic air travel, provided U.S. populations and ultimately those abroad agree that the X-59’s thump instead of a boom is quiet enough.

Supersonic’s not-so-super emissions

By Adam Hadhazy

October 1, 2019

Those who want to revive supersonic passenger flight will need to do more than build Mach 1 aircraft. They’ll need to convince a climate-change-rattled world that their comfort won’t make the greenhouse gas problem a whole lot worse. The industry has some creative ideas for addressing the problem.