A number of airports and other facilities wish to support the growing demand for commercial space operations and therefore are seeking launch site operator licenses from the FAA. As these facilities are developed, environmental analysis will need to be conducted, including quantifying the noise and sonic booms from space operations. ACRP Project 02-66, "Commercial Space Operations Noise and Sonic Boom Modeling and Analysis," is developing a noise model compatible with the FAA’s Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT), yet there is no robust dataset that could be used in this model or other community noise tools. Research therefore is needed to design and conduct a noise measurement campaign of space operations to build a high-fidelity dataset, which could be used to enhance modeling accuracy and validate community noise tools.
The objectives of this research are to: (1) develop a community noise measurement protocol for commercial space operations noise and sonic booms, (2) conduct a measurement campaign of actual space operations, and (3) compile a database of space operations noise and sonic booms that will serve as model source characteristics for the purpose of facilitating community noise model development and validation.
The community noise measurement protocol should define what needs to be measured and considered including, at a minimum:
- Vehicle types;
- Vehicle operational modes;
- Vehicle performance and operational characteristics data;
- Acoustic measurement parameters;
- Instrumentation and calibration requirements;
- Guidance for siting and orienting instruments;
- Environmental conditions during data collection;
- A method for standardizing data to reference environmental conditions; and
- A recommend post-data analysis process.
The measurement campaign should follow the community noise measurement protocol and be designed to maximize the number and type of measurement opportunities (i.e., launches and static tests) and vehicle operational modes. The database of space operations noise and sonic booms should consist of data that can be used by the general public without special arrangements or permissions and be based on an open-source, expandable structure. Both existing data and data gathered from the measurement campaign should be included.
Research is underway. Data have been collected at the first launch and is being analyzed by the contractor. The interim report is scheduled to be provided in late June, to be followed by an interim meeting with the panel in August.