What does supersonic mean? 

Supersonic is the rate of speed that is greater than the speed of sound, usually noted as Mach 1. While supersonic flight is approximately two times faster than standard commercial air travel, it is significantly slower than hypersonic. 

Military planes, especially combat jets, routine travel at supersonic speeds. The Concorde was turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner and was the first commercial aircraft to regularly travel at faster than the speed of sound. Primarily used by British Airways and Air France, the Concorde flew between the East Coast of the United States and London or Paris.

One of the impractical issues with supersonic speed is the “supersonic boom” which makes flying over populated areas impractical. Since the Concorde’s flight path was generally intercontinental over the Atlantic Ocean, the sonic boom was not an issue. New sound dampening technology exists now that will eventually enable both supersonic and hypersonic domestic flights. Supersonic flights would cut flight times by about half, while hypersonic flights promise to cut flight time by as much as 80%.     

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