This week, the Miles Team Weekly Topic takes a deviation from the regular to visit a special opportunity for our team. This week, one of our team members was granted the opportunity to attend the NASA X-plane event at Edwards Air Force Base by NASASocial.
Sydnie Nugent Pierce, one of Team Miles best software experts represented our team at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base May 31st, 2016 at an exciting, new NASA Social event. This NASA Social event was to showcase new technology advances in supersonic aircraft, to a select, influential 50-person group that have a commanding presence on social media. NASA Social’s goal is to provide these opportunities to help expand interest in NASA’s endeavors, to broaden their existing audience, and to reach new audiences.
This opportunity at Armstrong Flight Research was twofold. First, the main event was the showcase of the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft, currently in the development stages, is being designed to generate shock waves that create a “thump” rather than the disruptive boom currently associated with supersonic flight. Sydnie witnessed a live demonstration from a NASA F-18 that illustrated the difference in sound between the current sonic boom and the future “sonic thump” that will be a defining feature of the X-plane. The second of the two opportunities was the chance to see and interact with all of the infrastructure and staff needed to support the X-plane effort. The NASA Social page for the X-plane event provided the following list:
- Interact with project managers and aeronautics experts
- Learn about our efforts to capture images of supersonic shockwaves
- Meet fellow aeronautics enthusiasts who are active on social media
- Meet members of NASA’s social media team
- Tour NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s main campus on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
- See various manned and unmanned aircraft
We are a CubeQuest team! Why are we at an X-plane event?! Sydnie’s trip and hopefully our attendance to more in the future is part of an overall broader push to become more engaged with NASA operators, with those associated audiences, and with the industry as a whole. We have recently refreshed our social media presence with better management controls and tools and knowledge to help us broaden and deepen our engagement. Exciting things are coming and we look forward to be the subject of those headlines that we currently follow very soon. Until then, here is some perspective and media taken from Sydnie’s trip!
Seth: “Sydnie would you share your thoughts on the NASA X-Plane event?”
Sydnie:” Having always been fascinated by flying machines, it was a day I’ll always remember. To visit Edwards Air Force Base and NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (formerly Dryden Flight Research Center) was akin to going to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where aviation started. Some might say that Edwards Air Force Base is the jet-age equivalent of Kitty Hawk. All of the United States’ most historic military jets were tested and flown out of Edwards. The sound barrier was first broken there by Chuck Yeager. And the Space Shuttle landed there 54 times. For someone like me that loves both in- and out-of-atmosphere aerospace vehicles, it was walking on hallowed ground.
The event itself was fascinating. We learned about current sonic-boom research and the progress that has been made toward mitigating sonic boom noise. Someone asked me before I went to the NASA Social why this was a concern. Didn’t the sonic boom only occur at the moment the plane breaks the sound barrier? Hadn’t supersonic air travel been tried and deemed unprofitable? Firstly, the pressure wave caused by the jet traveling faster than the speed of sound travels with the jet and is experienced as a loud sonic boom by all that are under its path. Secondly, we learned that while there are a select few commercial air travelers desiring supersonic air travel, the number will eventually grow, and with the advancement of technology, more people will have access to supersonic air travel. Supersonic air travel will eventually be the norm, not the exception.”
Seth: “Thank you Sydnie. What was one of the most memorable parts of the trip?”
Sydnie: “Following the demonstration of the softer sonic-booms, the F-18 pilot did a really fast and low fly-by for us almost directly overhead. The sound was positively thunderous! I think it thrilled all of us watching – even the seasoned NASA employees paused to watch with smiles on their faces.”
Miles Team is currently in the process of applying to attend the next NASA Social event on July 3-4 for the arrival of the Juno orbiter to Jupiter. We should have another incredible experience to share shortly after then as well. Also please stay tuned for our Kickstarter campaign launching at the end of June! Until then, please enjoy these favorite photos from Sydnie of her trip to Edwards.