Aerospace: Supersonic Boom

The Concorde was a financial dud, but planemakers around the world are racing to design the next generation. Has its time finally come?

Even after 22 years in service, the Concorde still seems like a vehicle from the future. It can fly from New York City to London in just three hours, for which passengers pay an astronomical $4,167 each way. Yet for all its speed and prestige, the Concorde has always been a money loser for its operators, Air France and British Airways. The SST guzzles too much fuel, carries too small a passenger load and makes so much noise that 30 countries have restricted its use.

So why are aerospace engineers around the world scrambling to build the next generation of this...

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