According to NASA, the X-59 is shaped to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom reaching the ground to that of a gentle thump, if it is heard at all. It will be flown above select U.S. communities to generate data from sensors and people on the ground in order to gauge public perception. That data will help regulators establish new rules to enable commercial supersonic air travel over land. Supersonic flight over land without sonic booms is something that aerospace engineers have been trying to achieve since the 1960s when engineers in the United States and Europe were developing civilian supersonic transports such as the SST and Concorde. In 1973, the FAA banned aircraft from flying over land faster than Mach 1 (the speed of sound). Although the SST program was canceled in 1971, Concorde went on to fly for British Airways and Air France from 1976 to 2003, its supersonic cruising near the United States limited to only over the Atlantic Ocean. The X-59 is a research aircraft specifically being designed to learn if supersonic airplanes can operate without producing loud sonic booms.