The term supersonic came into use during World War II. USAF pilot Chuck Yeager was credited with being the first man to break the sound barrier (the point at which an aircraft goes from transonic to supersonic speed) on October 14, 1947, flying at an altitude of 45,000 ft at Mach 1, about 761 mph. Mach; that’s another term you might have heard. What does it mean? It’s a number representing the speed of something moving through air or other fluid divided by the local speed of sound. Mach is commonly used to represent the speed of something traveling close to or above the speed of sound. It’s named after Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach.
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