Difference Between Supersonic and Hypersonic

The measure at which things travel faster than the speed of sound is conveyed in terms of supersonic and hypersonic speeds. These speeds are expressed in terms of Mach. Mach number is stated as the ratio of speed of the aircraft to the speed of sound. The two key kinds of speeds of flight are Supersonic and Hypersonic. On the other hand, in scientific language, they are also called as the regimes of flight.

Be aware of the fact that Supersonic is Mach 1 speed whereas Hypersonic is Mach 5 speed. Moreover, make sure you know that Supersonic speed is more compared to the speed of sound while Hypersonic is 5 times the speed of sound.

Another major difference is that Concorde is just the only supersonic passenger airliner.  However, there is no hypersonic passenger airliner existing at the moment.


  • 1

    Supersonic speed

    It is the rate of travel which is faster than the speed of sound also known as Mach 1 speed. This is because the speed of sound is based on temperature and composition of air, supersonic speed also differs with changing altitudes. Know that in water at the normal room temperature it is more than 1440 m/s, whereas in solids it is greater than this. For instance, a bullet fired from a gun is an example of supersonic speed. War planes and space shuttles also fly close to these speeds. Concorde is one passenger aircraft that is believed to travel at supersonic speed. Nevertheless, the aircraft flew its last flight in 2003 and has been discontinued as a passenger aircraft now. The term sonic boom is related with these types of speeds as well. If an aircraft flies at such speed, anyone on the ground listens to a very big noise also known as sonic boom. It is created because of the movement of air molecules under a huge force.

  • 2

    Hypersonic speed

    It conforms to very high supersonic speeds. They are normally Mach 5 speeds or at least 5 times the speed of sound. The speed of a hypersonic aircraft is about 3000 miles per hour. There are three types of hypersonic speed including low, hypersonic and high supersonic. X-15 was one manned aircraft to fly at low hypersonic speeds like Mach 6. When a space shuttle re enters it also gets this much speed. The distance between shock wave, created by a hypersonic aircraft and it is smaller than a supersonic aircraft.

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