Characterization of Falcon 9 launch vehicle noise from far-field measurements.

This study investigates source-related noise characteristics of the Falcon 9, a modern launch vehicle with a high operational tempo. Empirical prediction of the noise characteristics of launched rockets has long been a topic of study; however, there are relatively few comparisons with high-fidelity, far-field data, and historical inconsistencies persist. Various quantities are considered: overall directivity, overall sound power, maximum overall sound pressure level (OASPL), and peak frequency. The noise directivity of the Falcon 9 vehicle is shown to be between two disparate ranges given in the historical literature, but the observed peak directivity angle is well represented using convective Mach number concepts. A comparison between mechanical and acoustic power yields a radiation efficiency is consistent with the literature. Two independent methods of predicting maximum OASPL produce results accurate within 2 dB, even at distances of several kilometers. Various scaling parameters are calculated for observed spectral peak frequency and connect these measurements with prior observations. Finally, the impact of terrain shielding on levels and spectra is assessed. These determined source characteristics of the Falcon 9 vehicle provide a connection to prior launch vehicle acoustics studies, which helps identify useful models and methods for understanding rocket noise.
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