CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX had a successful Thursday morning launch from the Space Coast, producing sonic booms as its Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage returned to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Just under 10 minutes after its 10:25 a.m. liftoff, the 162-foot booster generated window-rattling sonic booms.
According to NASA, a sonic boom (listen in video above) is heard when an aircraft or spacecraft flies through the air faster than the speed of sound, “pushing molecules aside with great force, and this forms a shock wave.”
“Much like a boat creates a wake in water. The bigger and heavier the aircraft, the more air it displaces,” the space agency’s website reads.
Sonic booms can sound as loud as an explosion, or, more quietly, like a rumble of thunder.
Not many launches produce sonic booms because there are many factors that come into play to influence sonic booms, including weather conditions.
The speed of sonic booms can be greatly affected by temperature, wind speeds and humidity. The warmer and wetter the surrounding air is, the faster the sound will travel, compared to cold and dry air.
Thursday’s launch marked the second of the year for the Space Coast