An experimental investigation of the space shuttle sonic boom
Theoretical methods exist for calculating the pressure signature, or sonic boom, of a maneuvering supersonic aircraft far from the flightpath. These methods are based on linearized geometric acoustics with nonlinear distortion and assume a horizontally stratified, time invariant atmosphere. The Space Shuttle, however, differs significantly in both its geometry and operational characteristics from typical supersonic aircraft. Measurements of the sonic boom pressure signature were made during the descent and landing of STS-41B and the ascent of STS-41D. These results have been compared with theoretical predictions based on the Waveform Parameter Method. The maximum overpressures measured generally agreed with calculated values to within 10-15%.