Air Transport World

Sonic gloom.

NASA pulls the plug on another SST effort, raising questions about its role in commercial aeronautics

For the second time in less than 30 years, the U.S. has spent at least a billion dollars of taxpayer money on a supersonic transport program and it has yet to build a single airplane. The termination of NASA's High Speed Civil Transport program has left much of the industry wondering about the agency's commitment to aeronautics research and the future of such joint government/industry collaborative efforts in the civil sector.

In the 10 years of HSCT effort that was administered under NASA's High Speed Research program, more than $1.6 billion was spent, about half for NASA's own research and half through government funding of work by several U.S. aerospace firms. Boeing received a major portion of the NASA funding, especially after absorbing McDonnell Douglas in 1997. …

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