A shock wave caused by the shuttle moving through the air faster than the speed of sound during re-entry. A shuttle's signature double sonic boom is a result of shock waves created by the nose and the tail of the orbiter.
when an aircraft flies at the speed of sound the air in front of it is compressed so muchthat it forms into a shock wave that travels out through the air and even reaches the ground. As the shock wave passes by people hear it as a double bang known as a sonic boom.
an explosive sound caused by the shock wave of an airplane traveling faster than the speed of sound; "a sonic boom follows an aircraft as a wake follows a ship"