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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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  • From the article:
    The United States has already carried out a flight test with a scramjet engine, while the European Union, Japan, China, Russia and India are in different stages of testing their technologies.

    Think how much money, time & effort could be saved if resources were pooled. (maybe this thing would be ready before 2025).

    I guess we'll all have to learn to get along first (oh & hopefully, the cooporation will be more equal then it was on the Joint strike fighter [] project between Britain & the US)
  • by polar red ( 215081 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @04:37AM (#15291461)
    Problem is, most people will keep on thinking in terms of 'us' and 'them'. Barbaric.
  • by colganc ( 581174 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @04:47AM (#15291484)
    If everything is pooled and one giant project is undertaken there is a good chance many interesting and novel solutions to supersonice transportation might not be discovered. Many different projects almost guarentees a couple of good and different solutions. Each solution will have it pro's and con's. Be better for one thing and slightly worse for something else. Competition is good.
  • by gundamstuff ( 822388 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @04:55AM (#15291510)
    Consumers need a super sonic jet just about as much as they need a 300kph Ferrari. It wasn't practical with the Concorde and it won't be pratical now. Planes cost too much already, an Airbus A380 goes for $300,000,000 USD. I don't see how Japan expects some plane that won't fly until 2025 at the earliest, to transform their aerospace industry. People aren't going to pay the premium ticket price if the plane is ever finished just like few paid the steep ticket cost of the concorde. It seems this money could be better spent on current planes that are actually economically feasible for airlines to fly.
  • by Aglassis ( 10161 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @05:16AM (#15291565)
    I agree completely. When you pool resources you get things like the ISS. At this point in that project can we really say we haved saved money by doing it the international way?

    One of the big things that you lose when you pool resources is adaptability. Now that's fine if you are building a piece of technology that is completely understood, but it is death to people who want to compete in emerging technologies.

    Would the US space program be better off if we were able to cut off funding to the ISS and focus on the CEV? I think so. But that is not possible because we have international agreements. We have to finish our share before we abandon it.

    These international resource pools remind me of the old engineering maxim:
    • How long will your project take?
      • Two weeks.
    • What if we double the amount of people on it?
      • Four weeks.
  • by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @06:36AM (#15291775)
    That's because it used an afterburner to fly through the atmosphere like a fighter jet.

    Actually, it didn't []. The afterburners were only used on takeoff, and during the accelleration from Mach 1 to about 1.7. For the second part, afterburning wasn't strictly necessary, but turned out to be more efficient than accelleration on dry thrust.
    Can't find good data on required runway length, but Concorde typically took off at 400 km/h, which is rather high. Accelleration from dry thrust may not have been enough to achieve 400 km/h on a typical runway.

    IOW, people who refer to the F-22's supercruise ability as something new or unique, are wrong. Concorde could do this. (So could the English Electric P.1, prototype for the EE Lightning, by the way []).
  • Granted, Concorde was a noisy beast especially on take off and I believe there was a regulation preventing them from going supersonic over land but it was a superb feat of engineering (the only commercial aircraft to have an afterburner) especially considering that they were designed to fly for 15-20 years and ended up doing almost double that (with extensive maintenance).

    The regulations regarding supersonic flight over populated areas weren't concorde specific. Breaking the speed of sound over land will get you greeted by several members of the the No Fun League (otherwise known as the FAA) who will politely (ha!) remind you about how difficult they can make your life as a pilot. The rules regarding supersonic flight started taking shape around the time the Air Force started getting aircraft that could break the speed of sound into their regular inventory. (Apparently the novelty of man's most recent achievement in flight wore off quickly)

    Boeing was behind, but it became very apparent that the SST or Concorde were only going to make the Trans-atlantic run, period. There simply weren't any other places where it could be flown without bothering the general public. Think about it; people who choose to buy houses that are near the airport do nothing but complain about the noise and raise hell when there's any talk of expansion. Think of what kind of NIMBY-ism would have erupted from people 250 miles from the nearest airport who, by a stroke of luck, happened to live near the area where all of the SST's would be going supersonic. I know 50 random sonic booms a day, every day would make me into a *really* happy camper. (ok, so the airplane buff in me would) So Boeing opted to stick with the "whole lot of people, just not quite as fast" track that aviation has been on since the early 50's. It also didn't help when the government teet that they'd been suckling to R & D money dried up.

    Maybe the technology has reached a point in terms of fuel efficiency where it might be more cost effective to build an SST, but you're still not going to be able to put enough meat in the seat to keep the bean counters happy.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"