|MadSci Network: Physics|
Madam, A sonic boom is caused when a body goes faster than the speed of sound. this speed can vary within a small range with temperature of the air and the altitude that the body is at when this happens. The first person to break the sound barrier that history gives credit to is Charles E Yager, also known as Chuck Yager. The aircraft that he used was the Bell X-1. The aircraft reached a speed of 700 mph (1127Kmph). He named the aircraft "Glamorous Glennis", to honor his wife. The Russians may have had test aircraft break the sound barrier before the U.S., but in many cases the pilots of these machines did not survive. I guess that rules out those attempts. The most interesting and overlooked fact however comes form world war two. One of Nazi Germany's secret weapons was the rocket bomb. There were two kinds: the V1 and the V2. The V2 was in all essence a rocket with a bomb attached as payload. Launched from Germany, they almost reached the edge of space when their engines would quit. Then, on a predetermined path they wound begin to fall to earth, towards England. The bomb would then reach a speed where it would cross the sound barrier. The residents of London would then suffer a thunderous explosion followed by the sonic boom. For quite a while they thought that the Germans had some how managed to get explosives in to the city and were setting them off in the sewers. Later the truth became known when these bombs began to rain down on Englan in the day time. More information on the Bell X-1 is at www.nasm.edu Sincerely, Savio Barretto. firstname.lastname@example.org
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