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Japan Solicits NASA's Help on Supersonic Jet 162

An anonymous reader writes "Since the Concorde supersonic jet is now retired, Japan is looking for the next generation supersonic flight solution. Japan's space agency is planning talks with NASA next month. They are looking for a partner since they have experienced a 'string of glitches, including a nose cone problem during the latest test flight in March.'"
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Japan Solicits NASA's Help on Supersonic Jet

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  • Number of reasons, fuel costs being high and rising, low passenger numbers after 9/11 and the fact that Airbus refused to renew the maintenance and parts contract that was due to expire. Normally, aircraft maintenance would be picked up by a third party in that case, but with only 12 aircraft in an airworthy state, and not all of them flying, it wasnt cost effective for the normal maintenance companies to step in.
  • I'd say that given that America is the only country with a working scramjet, maybe...we'd head the team? Or it'd be something like the international spacestation project.

    Huh? Do I not recall a successful test of the British and Australian built Hyshot III in Australia earlier this year, that was definately a scramjet. Nasas X-47 is not the only successful scramjet.

  • by dtmos ( 447842 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @05:41AM (#15291625)
    In August 2005 [].

    To sum up, the rationale for the Japanese to work on a supersonic transport is based on three assumptions:

    1. The scramjet engine will reduce operating (read: fuel) costs per average passenger mile significantly below that of the Concorde (by supporting a larger plane and being more fuel-efficient at cruise),

    2. The plane will be capable of nonstop trans-Pacific flight (an ability also largely due to the fuel-efficiency of the scramjet), and

    3. The much longer trans-Pacific flights in which the Japanese are interested will more dramatically show the time-of-arrival advantage of the supersonic plane than the shorter trans-Atlantic flights of the Concorde, and make it more appealing to seat-weary passengers.

    I suppose there is also a fourth assumption, that cheap, fast, trans-Pacific travel would greatly improve the national economy of Japan in general and the Japanese aircraft industry in particular. This is the reason the Japanese government is expressing interest.

    Whether these assumptions turn out to be factual or not requires research, which the Japanese are now doing.

    I now return you to your previously-scheduled discussion, already in progress.
  • by rtobyr ( 846578 ) <> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @05:49AM (#15291644) Homepage
    I know this may be an unpopular point of view, but I recently flew to the Philippines with a layover in Taiwan. From San Francisco to Taiwan, it was a 14 hour flight. That sucked. It sucked big time. I don't know how much extra I'd have had to pay for a supersonic flight, but it may have been worth it. It would be interesting to know whether all the people posting comments about what a waste of money this is have ever flown nonstop to Asia.
  • by wulfhound ( 614369 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @06:24AM (#15291735)
    Concorde only used afterburner at take-off and acceleration to supersonic. Once it reached cruising speed (mach 2) they could turn the afterburner off.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @06:25AM (#15291738) Journal
    an elite few, whose only claim to power is their nation's military might.

    Well, let's see... The only country that springs to mind whose "only claim to power" is their "military might" would be North Korea.

    All of the G8 nations have vast, diversified economies, which are the basis of their power and influence.


  • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @06:52AM (#15291825)
    Why was the Conconrde retired

    British Airways made over GBP1bn from Concorde, Air France made a loss. AF wanted out but the agreement with BA said neither side could unilaterally stop flying concordes and BA were making money so...

    Concorde's airworthiness certificates were owned by Airbus via aquisitions over the years and Airbus under pressure from AF withdrew the airworthiness certificate thus grounding the lot. To guarantee it stayed that way and couldn't be reversed, all the spare parts were sold off/auctioned on Ebay.

    BA were particularly annoyed because Airbus had told them it was OK to go ahead and spend some GBP70m (ish) refitting their fleet and bringing them up to date, just before they were finally grounded.
  • When you pool resources you get things like the ISS.

    And when you don't pool, you get the MIR - if you still have the USSR at hand. And Skylab.

  • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:27AM (#15292163) Journal
    ... there are a **lot** of people who would like to talk to you.

    LEO time to orbit is about 90 minutes, so that is 45 minutes to make it halfway around the world (or to just about anywhere from anywhere if you think about it). In order to make a suborbital hop "on the order of 30 minutes" you'd have to do orbital velocity...

Veni, Vidi, VISA: I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.