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Transportation

The End of the "Age of Speed" 531

DesScorp writes "'The human race is slowing down,' begins an article in the Wall Street Journal that laments the state of man's quest of aerial speed: we're going backwards. With the end of the Space Shuttle program, man is losing its fastest carrier of human beings (only single use moonshot rockets were faster). 'The shuttles' retirement follows the grounding over recent years of other ultra-fast people carriers, including the supersonic Concorde and the speedier SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. With nothing ready to replace them, our species is decelerating—perhaps for the first time in history,' the article notes. Astronauts are interviewed, and their sadness and disappointment is apparent. In the '60s and '70s, it was assumed that Mach 2+ airline travel would one day be cheap and commonplace. And now it seems that we, and our children, will fly no faster than our grandparents did in 707s. The last major attempt at faster commerical air travel — Boeing's Sonic Cruiser — was abandoned and replaced with the Dreamliner, an airliner designed from the ground up for fuel efficiency."

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