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Space shuttle at liftoff Yes! As the Space Shuttle re-enters the atmosphere at supersonic speeds, it creates shock waves which produce sonic booms. In fact, you'll hear not one, but two sonic booms! Because the Space Shuttle is so large (122 ft long), you will hear the sonic booms created by both the nose and tail shock waves (they occur about one-half second apart). All supersonic airplanes produce two sonic booms, but because they happen so close to each other, you hear them as one sound.

You can hear the Space Shuttle's double sonic boom (keep in mind that if you were hearing the real thing it would be hundreds of times louder).


Photo: NASA; Sound: NASA Langley Research Center.

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