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Japan Solicits NASA's Help on Supersonic Jet

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the high-hopes dept.

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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Cooporation is the way of the future. (3, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291449)

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.
*sighs*

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 [timesonline.co.uk] project between Britain & the US)

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (2, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291461)

Problem is, most people will keep on thinking in terms of 'us' and 'them'. Barbaric.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (2, Funny)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291467)

Problem is, most people will keep on thinking in terms of 'us' and 'them'. Barbaric.

Unless they're 'axis of evil' countires - in which case they'll be thinking in terms of 'us' and 'US'

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (-1, Troll)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291469)

I guess we'll all have to learn to get along first

I can't see that happening when all that matters to Bush & Co is oil.

It would be nice to see a joint effort, but really, is it likely?

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (5, Insightful)

colganc (581174) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (4, Insightful)

Aglassis (10161) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (3, Informative)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292077)

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.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291488)

Think how much money, time & effort could be saved if resources were pooled.

Who will head the pool? That's the big question... there's hardly any point in joining a syndicate, if the Board is excusively controlled by an elite few, whose only claim to power is their nation's military might.

Whether it's satellites, rockets, missions to the moon or supersonic jets, few BIG nations want to co-operate or pool - just exploit hi-tech low-paid manpower from abroad.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (1)

agent dero (680753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291555)

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.

The reasons for pooling aren't simply political or otherwise, it's much easier to fund such things between a couple countries working together, as opposed to each on their own (faster results as well, unless you forget to convert from meters to feet)

Hate to squash your obvious anti-american quip here, but we've got the bombs, as well as quite a few brains. As soon as you start to see Germany, Japanese, or Chinese space probes shooting out of the solar system, you can stuff your opinions; there's a reason America asserts its power in this arena, because we've done it already, most sane individuals can recognize that experience is valuable in science, and it's usually the most experienced researcher that heads the research team...

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291588)

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.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291756)

Do I not recall a successful test of the British and Australian built Hyshot III in Australia earlier this year

You do recall. In fact, all this bleating about lack of collaboration and pooling resources is just polemic. Hyshot IS a collaborative effort, and results ARE being shared.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291618)

there's hardly any point in joining a syndicate, if the Board is excusively controlled by an elite few, whose only claim to power is their nation's military might.

Hate to squash your obvious anti-american quip here, but we've got the bombs

sigh.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (0, Offtopic)

agent dero (680753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291976)

It's a Dennis Leary reference silly.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (2, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291738)

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.

-jcr

Unequal (4, Interesting)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291514)

Even an unequal cooperation can have enormous benefits. Look at Canada and the US with regards to nuclear research. Canada didn't get any bombs out of it (not that we particularly need any when our allies are armed to the nuts with them), but our scientists saw enough of the action to later on make us a leader in nuclear power. Having some of the world's biggest uranium deposits helps, of course, but still. An unequal partnership, if leveraged properly, can be just awesome. It's definitely better than no partnership at all, especially for wee little nations like the aforementioned Canada.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (1)

FirienFirien (857374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291647)

While the theory of consortiums is a nice one, there's too many parties interested in keeping the technologies (read: profits) for themselves. Too many people want a slice of the pie, and the people who get these projects started aren't going to divvy out unless those wanting a slice of that pie are willing to invest in them strongly - and then they still want to keep hold of the reins.

However, at least one of the positive aspects of competition is that you don't get stuck in a rut with working on a single design; working on multiple parallel designs leads to better technology, because the people who will buy a working technology will go for the better ones. There's more pressure to do better, or be left behind.

We can hope. Personally, I think the internet age and rising costs of fuel will scrap this project; with free video conferencing improving, the value of face time is no longer such an absolute leader, and will quickly become outweighed by the cost of fast travel. It's an interesting idea - but 2025? I just can't see it staying viable.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291736)

Here's one area where capitalism shoots itself in the foot: by not sharing new information, everyone has to reinvent the wheel, wasting massive amounts of money. The scientific ideal of sharing all new discoveries would make innovation much more efficient.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291651)

Scramjets are so rediculously energy inefficient that I don't see them in widespread use other than in the military. It isn't like electronics technology where smaller transistors can be made to do more with less electricity, there are fundemental physics at issue here. The same goes for space passenger services, the amount of energy needed to get into orbit is staggering that I'm skeptical that it can ever be made affordable for middle class use.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291747)

Scramjets are so rediculously energy inefficient that I don't see them in widespread use other than in the military.

Yeah, they're almost as bad as the first turbojets were. Gotta start somewhere, though.

-jcr

No arms race if everyone wins (-1, Offtopic)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291696)


Great idea, lets all lay down our arms, hold hands and sing songs about peace and love.

Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Mac Fanboy? Our military has a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for wasted expenditures, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what the military knows. That military spending, while tragic and excessive, probably saved lives. And existence or pork projects, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want the military on that wall, you need the military on that wall. The military uses words like honor, code, loyalty. The military uses these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think.

Re:No arms race if everyone wins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291808)

Except it'd be nice if they stayed at their own walls and left ours to us.

Re:No arms race if everyone wins (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291841)

Great idea, lets all lay down our arms, hold hands and sing songs about peace and love.

I called for greater international coorporation (in a non-military context even). Nothing more, nothing less.

You're entire reactionary, pro-military, knee-jerk rant was irrelevant - but I have to reply to a couple of points.

Our military has a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for wasted expenditures, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what the military knows.

You say 'Our' military - but I am not British (or French/Iranian/US/whatever you are), I come from & live in countries that are small, have minimal military budgets & rely on good relations for defense.

That military spending, while tragic and excessive, probably saved lives.

Uh huh. I feel safer allready (btw, if I was an Iraqi I'd definitely be disagreeing with you)

Either way, I don't give a damn what you think.

You obviously do - or you wouldn't have posted.

I see (0, Offtopic)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291863)

So you live in a country like kuwait of 1990 perhaps?

Personally, I tend to like the swiss model. Have good relations with everybody and have a good mliitary. [answers.com]

Where we go wrong is that we have presidents who every so often have to prove something or they want something such as oil. Then we throw out might around (basically a bully or being greedy).

Re:I see (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291915)

So you live in a country like kuwait of 1990 perhaps?

Please either reread my comment - particularly the line rely on good relations for defense. or understand a little history - particularly the sort of relations Kuwait had with its neighbours in 1990.

Personally, I tend to like the swiss model. Have good relations with everybody and have a good mliitary.

Swiss are completely different - they're a neutral country (not even a part of the UN) and hard to compare. As for a 'good military'...well it aint so expensive.

Swiss military expenditure 1% of GDP [cia.gov]

US military expenditure 4%+ of GDP" [cia.gov] (interestingly, slightly less then Kuwait you mentioned earlier. [cia.gov]

Where we go wrong is that we have presidents who every so often have to prove something or they want something such as oil. Then we throw out might around (basically a bully or being greedy).

I'm afraid more then 'every so often'. [wikipedia.org]

Re:I see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15292062)

interestingly, slightly less then Kuwait you mentioned earlier.

Prior to the invasion, Kuwait had minimal military (20K troops and fourty tanks). For some odd reason, After the invasion, they have been working to have a decent military. [photius.com]

I'm afraid more then 'every so often'.

Yes, I am aware of our excesses. Of course, that makes us on par with Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, USSR, Japan, China, Iraq, Iran, Cuba, etc.

Re:I see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15292132)

Yes, I am aware of our excesses. Of course, that makes us on par with Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, USSR, Japan, China, Iraq, Iran, Cuba, etc.

Can you please link to the countries that Iran & Cuba* have invaded?

Can you please link to the 130 countries Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, USSR, Japan, China, Iraq, Iran & Cuba have military bases in?

Can you please link to the one-overseas-military-conflict-per-year that Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, USSR, Japan, China, Iraq, Iran & Cuba have had?

* Including Cuba on your list shows that you are a fucking retard.

Re:I see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15292336)

* Including Cuba on your list shows that you are a fucking retard.

Yeah, Cuba never had any involvements or troops located in say Nicaragua, Angola, Afghanastan, etc. nor involvements in any other african or south american country (Shining Path ring a bell????)

Likewise, Iran is well known for its funding and support of terrorists groups , most of which are dedicated to the downfall of Isreal or any western country.

As to links, well, google for it. Your laziness does not mean that I have to do the work for you.

Just as bush is an idiot for ignoring history, I would have to say that you are just as bad, if not worse. Bush has an excuse (he is persuing money for him self and friends). OTH, you are simply blathering and appear to no capabilities except to resort to being foul mouth.

Re:I see (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292153)

Since when does pissing of your biggest neighbor (by suddenly demanding back the money you financed the war with between him and the big neighbor across the gulf and slant drilling for oil under his soil) count as "relying on good relations"?

Re:No arms race if everyone wins (0, Flamebait)

Xabraxas (654195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292143)

I was just going to mod your comment but there is no mod for "sociopath".

Instead I am just going to suggest you climb out of your bunker and get some air. Don't worry the bogeyman isn't going to get you.

As for your comments. First of all the military doesn't know shit. Governments and intelligence agencies do, well, at least they are supposed to. Second, pork projects don't save lives or else they wouldn't be pork projects. Finally the military, at least the US military, lost the right to use the word honor at Abu Ghraib, if not earlier.

It was a freaking joke (0, Offtopic)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292262)


Does nobody get the reference to Jack Nickelson vs. Tom Cruise in "A few Good Men"?? 1992 was not that long ago, or am I getting old? Kids today, no respect for their elders...

Re:It was a freaking joke (0)

RicRoc (41406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292387)

I thought it was funny and got the reference right away! :-)

Keep up the good comments, even if most people don't get it. At least you provide a chuckle to some of us.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291802)

Britain has a long memory, and we remeber all to well the way were shafted by the US over the original jet engines.

A "Technology Transfer" agreement was initiated by the US. We agreed to host their scientists, and then they would host ours. What actually happend was that US scientists came over here... spent weeks going over our (much advanced) technology (admittedly due to captured german scientists and freed jewish scientists) then went home.

When the UK wanted to send its scientists over, there were always "problems" and "difficulties" with the arrangements until finally the US just refused to answer queries.

A couple of years later the US had it's first viable jet engine... whose design (not suprisingly) looked very much like the british design the US scientists had been shown.

Past american governments have show themselves to be perfectly happy to steal from their allies, why should anyone therefore want to enter into such a deal with the US without massive safeguards? I'm sure other countries have equally sordid tales of government sponsored scientific thievery.

Re:Cooporation is the way of the future. (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291848)

Britain has a long memory, and we remeber all to well the way were shafted by the US over the original jet engines.

And the TSR2

Calling Mr. Smith, Calling Adam Smith, STAT! (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291973)

Well, I'd look at it this way.

You're the smartest kid in the class. Your project is 75% done.
The other kids, not from perhaps as nice a home as yours, without your rich parents and ample access to resources, are only 10-50% done.

What possible motivation could you have for handing your project materials over to the others, to help them get theirs done? Note: before you answer, please remember that as far as I know, nobody (no landlords, grocers, car dealers, universities, doctors, etc) let you pay for anything with "good karma".

Because in the real world, people have to have reasons and motivations to do things. This project is progressing on multiple fronts because a multiple of people see that there is commercial/scientific/national opportunity in it. If those are the motivations for pursuing the projects in the first place, how could any of them be advanced by 'pooling' resources (in any way that would be an advantage to the leader).

And lest you cast the US as the sole bogeyman here, I'd be just as interested to see if the people that are second-most-advanced would be willing to share their tech with the 3-4-5th most. (Although there, there is at least the motivation that perhaps together they could be first, and thus gain the benefits of first place, which none of them probably will reach alone....)

Re:Calling Mr. Smith, Calling Adam Smith, STAT! (1)

ritzKracker (734056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292213)

Well, you have removed the classroom from its context. Why are you and all the students there? Are you there to beat your classmates, or are you there to better your self. Not to say that competition and being the best is bad, its only part of the over all endeavor. You would be better served to share knowledge, which would uplift everyone, or atleast all who could get along. Its impossible to always be the best, eventually you will be supplanted, and then where will you be?

Competition generates solutions (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292155)

Competition brings to light solutions that one particular team might elimiate via a trade study by valuing the wrong thing in a trade. Competition is good. Especially in (still) developing fields like high-speed combustion. There is no right and wrong or "My way or the highway (Yet...). We know "In theory" this is how it should be built but "In practice" it is very different. The best tradeoff might be a worse design than the second best tradeoff due to a parameter that was neglected by the engineers. Competition is essential.

NASA has a full plate (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292216)

NASA is fully preoccupied with finishing the space station for our international partners and developing the CEV and new lunar landing infrastructure. NASP, X-33, Boeing's Supersonic Airliner.. There will be no major expendatures on yet another pie in the sky aerospaceplane. The justification is pretty weak - Tokyo to L.A. It sounds more like a bumbling attempt to grab technology from the US.

What happened to sub-orbital? (2, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291463)

When last I heard about this issue, it was considered completely feasible to develop a sub-orbital passenger service for those super-premium customers who would otherwise spend some $3000 US on a concorde ticket.

Further, considering the resources required to maintain the concorde, which is reportedly the norm for such high performance aircraft, I see no reason why it wouldn't be more cost effective to move forward with the concept.

Granted the maintainance would need to be even more intensive and exacting, but rather than 2 hour transcontinental flights it would be on the order of 30 minutes, allowing for more time in maintainance between trips and creating a more compelling reason for those who consider time more important than money.

Re:What happened to sub-orbital? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291661)

it was considered completely feasible to develop a sub-orbital passenger service for those super-premium customers who would otherwise spend some $3000 US on a concorde ticket.

It is worth noting that a long semiballistic trajectory (say half way around the Earth) requires almost as much energy as achieving orbit. Then you have similar thermal protection issues to deal with.

You could do it with a space shuttle but its not going to be much safer.

Re:What happened to sub-orbital? (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291995)

This might sound stupid, but I'd feel ripped off if I paid $3000+ for a plane ride that only lasted 30 minutes, even if it did take me to the other side of the planet.

If you can do orbital velocity for $3000 (2, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292163)

... 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...

Stling of gritches? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291464)

solly...

Re:Stling of gritches? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291743)

preeez herp!

Hey! Guess what! (-1, Flamebait)

jdcook (96434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291846)

Racism isn't funny and, yes, this is racist.

fucking classic (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291881)

that was the most original joke I've seen on slashdot in maybe 9 or 12 months, heh.
u're a fag

Re:Hey! Guess what! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15292373)

You don't find the Chappelle show funny? BTW - I know why they need our help, they can't find anyone to drive/fly the thing.

Before re-inventing the wheel... (0)

jkrise (535370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291477)

Why was the Conconrde retired? Something very mysterious there, considering the success of that design over several years.
-

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (3, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291487)

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.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291495)

Why can't the 'DESIGN' of the Concorde be shared? That's got nothing to do with the economics and all these speculative conspiracy theories.

It appears the single largest cause for the failure of the Concorde was bad management, not bad design.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (2, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291520)

Because its too small - it was only designed to seat 140 passengers, and under todays economics that simply is not enough. Oil today is touching $100 a barrel for aviation requirements and that produces a CASM (cost per average seat mile) thats pretty much unsustainable even for the wealthy. The aircraft needs to me bigger and carry more people and cargo (which produces a substantial income for airlines on most routes).

Aviation has moved on considerably since Concorde was designed in the 1960s, and much more efficient and wider fuselages can be designed today to accomodate a lot more passengers with lower drag.

Rolls Royce are also on record saying that there would be little improvement efficiency wise in newer turbojet and turbofan engines over the engines Concorde used, those engines were as efficient as they can be made even with current technology. The efficiencies seen elsewhere in engine design do not scale all the way up to engines capable of sustained mach 2.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291813)

Concorde was not a failure - it exceeded the design specs and flew for double the design life.

It did not sell because of politics - Concorde was designed for the Paris/London - New York route, when Boeing failed with an over-ambitious design (swing-wing double droop nose) the route was denied to AF/BA. By the time NY allowed Concorde to operate the production run had effectively ended.

Wrt fuel efficiency - the concorde engines were the most fuel efficient jet engines ever made. They have not been bettered today.

As for sharing the design - airbus are a little more sensible than that. The Japanese attempted to get them interested in a jv a while ago but airbus have plenty of investment risk at the moment without helping competitors.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291492)

Simply too expensive. The accident was just an excuse.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291502)

Simply too expensive. The accident was just an excuse.

What'd make the Japanese hope the NASA design would lead to a cheaper product?

Five reasons already for my question, and ALL DIFFERENT! Really mysterious, it appears.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291528)

There were a lot of reasons for Concordes retirement. The Japanese approach uses different engine technology so it can achieve a different efficiency, which is the main reason for any retirement of any aircraft type.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291585)

Concorde was expensive, it's true. That's because it used an afterburner to fly through the atmosphere like a fighter jet.

But space planes which cruise above the atmosphere in a series of bounces sound efficient to me. Once you reach cruising altitude, you can fire the engine a short burst every so often to maintain altitude. Since you're so high up, air resistance should be rather low.

I'm no aero engineer, but it seems like it could be cheaper than Concorde as well as faster. I'm not sure what the cost would be relative to a 747. But Tokyo to LA in 3 hours should allow them to charge a lot more for the tickets, so perhaps it's economic. Also, I reckon there are enough super rich people in the world for a few supersonic planes, regardless of how economic they are.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (2, Informative)

wulfhound (614369) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (4, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291775)

That's because it used an afterburner to fly through the atmosphere like a fighter jet.

Actually, it didn't [concordesst.com] . 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 [thunder-an...ings.co.uk] ).

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (1)

JPribe (946570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292236)

Uh, the F-22 is the first aircraft to intentionally be designed for supercruise...the Concorde was an accident. Also, many jets have had supercruise over the years...small, light fighters get upgraded engines and all of a sudden zoom zoom..

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (5, Interesting)

joecm (16636) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291493)

Nova had a great show on the history of the Concorde recently and talked in detail about why it went under. Though there were many reasons, I was a bit suprised that one of the main reasons was that 40 of their most regular customers died in the World Trade Center. Though the number does not seem that high, these same people also allowed other execs in their company to fly which really hurt the concorde.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15292102)

So now the truth come out, 9/11 was a plot to support the NASA and hurt the French Industry.
Probably plotted by the NSA, (a subdepartment of N(A)SA ) and a tee totaller association.

---------
A day without a conspiration theory is a lost day.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291494)

It crashes if it hits a bit of wreckage [aeronautics.ru] that some idiot left on the runway.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (3, Interesting)

JRGhaddar (448765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291508)

Here is an article about the concorde retiring [concordesst.com]

EXCERT
"The airline said that its decision had been made for commercial reasons with passenger revenue falling steadily against a backdrop of rising maintenance costs for the aircraft.
Detailed discussions over an extended period with Airbus, the aircraft's manufacturer, confirmed the need for an enhanced maintenance programme in the coming years, the carrier added.
British Airways has decided that such an investment cannot be justified in the face of falling revenue caused by a global downturn in demand for all forms of premium travel in the airline industry.
The downturn has had a negative impact on Concorde bookings and is set to continue for the foreseeable future, according to the airline."

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (3, Informative)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Before re-inventing the wheel... (1)

HaydnH (877214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291883)

Don't forget about the accident [bbc.co.uk] and the grounding [newscientist.com] - these didn't help much. IIRC they had to do work on the engines while it was grounded to get their airworthiness certificate back as it was possible that the 2 engines on each wing weren't protected well enough from each other during failure.

Artist's Rendition of the Japanese Supersonic Jet (0, Redundant)

reporter (666905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291485)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has a web page [ista.jaxa.jp] offering an artist's rendition of the supersonic jet plane. There is also a picture of a scaled-down model of the plane. The model was successfully tested [bbc.co.uk] in late 2005.

A little bit of mental morphing of the image could transform it into the pre-Federation Enterprise (NX-01) [wikipedia.org] . Will the Vulcans make first contact in Tokyo?

Re:Artist's Rendition of the Japanese Supersonic J (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291532)

A little bit of mental morphing of the image could transform it into the pre-Federation Enterprise (NX-01). Will the Vulcans make first contact in Tokyo?

I read that link......and...I'm...lost for words. Maybe I'm not so much of a geek as I thought I was?

Re:Artist's Rendition of the Japanese Supersonic J (2, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291541)

has a web page offering an artist's rendition of the supersonic jet plane

Just an artist's rendition? How about a video of the prototype taking off [www.jaxa.jp] instead? :-)

Re:Artist's Rendition of the Japanese Supersonic J (1)

Aglassis (10161) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291603)

A little bit of mental morphing of the image could transform it into the pre-Federation Enterprise (NX-01). Will the Vulcans make first contact in Tokyo?

I know I'm going to regret mentioning this.... but,

First contact with the vulcans was made with the Phoenix [wikipedia.org] , not the NX-01.

Seems like a bad business decision (3, Insightful)

gundamstuff (822388) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

We've had this discussion before (4, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291625)

In August 2005 [slashdot.org] .

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.

Re:We've had this discussion before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15292318)

Military intention, it's not just business!

Re:Seems like a bad business decision (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291927)

It seems this money could be better spent on current planes that are actually economically feasible for airlines to fly.

By your thinking, then we should not even be flying. Look, we use to be on the piston engines. In fact, a great economical aircraft was the DC-7. A piston engine that flew at 300 MPH. But it was maxed out. When the 707 came out, it overtook quickly, even though initially it cost more to own and to fly. But once the jet era took off, then research invented the turbofan and then the low costs kicked. Plain and simple, the rich to middle class will probably fly this new aircfaft, but if successful, it would stimulate new lower costs and more economical aircraft at high speeds.

As to current aircrafts, well the 787 is off course very high milage (lower weights, and wing design). Of course, airbus is now going to borrow and create the 350 (similiar design). In addition, airbus's 380 will also have a high mileage/passenger. You can bet that it will be flown at close to max loads so that economy is high.

Re:Seems like a bad business decision (1)

mathijskok (973687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292016)

Well, Ferrari can sell a lot more cars then they can build, so there are certainly SOME consumers who need them. And hey... those could be the same folks willing to pay alot for fast travel! And keep in mind that Japan is rather a long way from the US and Europe, flying the pacific at mach 3 makes a lot morse sense then flying the atlantic at mach 3.

Why NASA? (3, Interesting)

Cicero382 (913621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291516)


Haven't the British and French teams who designed and built Concorde got the best experience?

Re:Why NASA? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291542)

The senior engineers have probably retired

Re:Why NASA? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291576)

They are all but retired now. They need to look elsewhere.

Only one company has designed, built and tested a non-military supersonic plane since Concorde and Tu-144. It is Sukhoi for Gulfstream. SUKHOI-GULFSTREAM S-21. http://www.x-plane.org/home/spiff000/S21/S21specs. html [x-plane.org]

It is not completely clear what Lokheed Martin will do with the patents for the low sonic boom hypersonics and they are rumoured to have a Skunkworks project on it. Noone has seen it yet so the jury is still out on that one.

It is a very good indication about the tentative market that no orders were ever placed for a hypersonic built by Sukhoi and Gulfstream. Even putting the Ferrari and Rolls Royce of aviation together did not cause enough interest so I do think there is a viable market for this.

Re:Why NASA? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291751)

It is not completely clear what Lokheed Martin will do with the patents for the low sonic boom hypersonics and they are rumoured to have a Skunkworks project on it. Noone has seen it yet so the jury is still out on that one.

has anyone heard it???

I'll get my coat...

Re:Why NASA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291652)

>Haven't the British and French teams who designed and built Concorde got the best experience?

Yes. But now they're retired or dead.

linear aerospike (1)

distantbody (852269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291533)

Something with an aerospike engine [wikipedia.org] would be nice...Or not.

It'll never fly (5, Interesting)

Deathmatchbunny (973674) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291620)

Commercial supersonic flight is dead. -There is just no way that you can get around the fact that it takes roughly two to three times the fuel per km flown to travel at supersonic speed. There are fairly fundamental reasons why there will be no significant advances in this area. A future supersonic jet transport might have a glide angle of 12:1 (concorde was ~8:1) while a modern commercial jet is over 20:1 and a future BWB is over 30:1 (some gliders hit 60:1). -The sonic boom prevents any overflight of populated areas and even if significant noise reduction could be achieved the very small constituency for such a service would still see any residual boom noise used as an excuse by the general (and envious) public to restrict or outright ban such overflight. - Exhaust emissions at 20km altitude (roughly double 10km of commercial jets) are of far greater environmental concern due to lower mixing rates with lower atmosphere, impact of water vapour as the number one greenhouse gas and proximity to the politically and environmentally sensitive ozone layer. -Technology really hasn't improved much in relevant materials or engines. Add to this the high costs of development, relatively restricted range and limited routes and you have a total non-starter.

Re:It'll never fly (1)

ratbag (65209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291638)

Whilst I accept your environmental concerns (though a scramjet could reduce the impact), I think the sonic boom issue is irrelevant for a Japanese trans-Pacific plane, since there are relatively few inhabited places over-flown whilst travelling from Japan to the Americas.

Rob.

Re:It'll never fly (0, Offtopic)

Kopretinka (97408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291785)

this is off topic, don't waste time or moderation points...

For the parent - you might consider telling the submit form that you do your formatting in plain text. It was so much easier to read your comment in source view than rendered as HTML.

Re:It'll never fly (4, Interesting)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291870)

> it takes roughly two to three times the fuel per km flown

First class is roughly two times more expensive than economy class. This one charging ten times the economy class will still produce enough demand to fill all seats.

> The sonic boom prevents any overflight of populated areas and even if significant noise reduction could be achieved the very small constituency for such a service would still see any residual boom noise used as an excuse by the general (and envious) public to restrict or outright ban such overflight

Most of the route over ocean, no problem. The part over populated land can be either performed at altitudes where the residual boom (after active silencing, tech already present in fighter planes) reaching the ground will be unaudible - or travel at subsonic speeds over the land.

> Exhaust emissions at 20km altitude (roughly double 10km of commercial jets) are of far greater environmental concern due to lower mixing rates with lower atmosphere

So there will be just a few such planes. With prices this high there won't be all that much demand anyway... and with enough lobbying environment impact will just get forgotten. Not that I want it, it's just a realistic look at what happens.

> Add to this the high costs of development,
Government-funded, NASA plus JSA, come on...

> relatively restricted range

Half the Earth. Do you need more?

>and limited routes

Only routes where it would make sense. Really no need to fly supersonic from New York to Washington DC. It's not meant to replace current planes, it's just to fill a small niche where there's small but constant demand and no supply.

> and you have a total non-starter.

You have some not all that hard obstacles, no showstoppers.

Re:It'll never fly (1)

Subbynet (905560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292041)

Commercial supersonic flight is only dead because we have no capable aircraft. If Virgin Galactic can sell tickets at $200,000 for a trip landing where they started then people will pay (like they did before) to cross the world in the shortest time possible.

Worth the Ticket Price (4, Informative)

rtobyr (846578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291644)

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.

Re:Worth the Ticket Price (1)

coofercat (719737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291819)

This is broadly how BA used to market Concorde - as a time management tool. Flying Concorde would cost you something like three to five times as much as conventional flights. If your time is worth enough, that actually saves you money. Especially as you could go from London to NY and back again without particularly having to contend with jetlag. Given the flights were pretty plush (although a bit cramped inside, you got use of the lounge, bags carried etc) you'd arrive at your destination in pretty good shape, rather than having had the life sucked out of you for 8 hours+ each way.

The same questions remain though: Are there significant numbers of people who's time is worth the premium price? (especially as the premium price is likely to be high unless this thing runs on a teaspoon of fuel). Sonic boom issues will slow flights down, although new technology will enable faster non-supersonic and presumably faster supersonic flight. It's not like the Japanese to bugger up the business angle on things, so maybe they've got something...?

Re:Worth the Ticket Price (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291873)

From San Francisco to Taiwan, it was a 14 hour flight.

The last time I went from Melbourne to Dublin it took me 30 hours. I don't like it but the business travelers who pay a lot of the running costs of airlines are using email, video conferencing and MS office documents instead of their expensive travel.

I wish we had an ultrasonic jet (1)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291670)

All this talk of supersonic passenger jets, great nice, but it will never be economically feasible, certainly not with the $100/barrel oil prices. What would be much more appreciated by the market and politicians is ultrasonic or anti-sonic jets. Anything that kills the noise of jets

Re:I wish we had an ultrasonic jet (1)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291793)

Nope. There are people ready to pay enough to make it feasible. Increase price, increase unit profit, decrease number of potential customers, either increase or decrease total profit. I bet if they made 2-seat 6-mach fighter planes available for plain human transport across the ocean (pilot+1 passenger), there would be still enough demand to make it pay if the travel lasted 3h instead of 14. Likely impossible for military reasons, not economic.

This is not the point... (1)

ufoot (600287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291719)

Whatever time you may gain by flying at supersonic speeds, you'll lose it at the customs because this flight is so highly controlled that one needs to really check that your best friend is not likely to have a relative which has spent 3 days in Irak 20 years ago...

You'll loose 3 hours in traffic jams on both sides of your trip, not even gaining them back on flight.

Talking about comfort? 15 hours trips not being comfortable? Well, at this speed, you spend so much fuel that using the same fuel, at the same price, you could fly at a "standard" speed but using more space in the plane. Enough space to have a comfortable sit, be able to put your kids in a real bed, and so on. You know, all the prototypes Boeing and Airbus show you before the planes ship, and which are never used by companies because noone will ever pay 3000$ instead of 1000$ just to be more comfortable, except people who don't pay for it (their companies do). Get serious.

The only real interest would be for workers who really need to cross oceans quickly. I bet their employers would save a bunch of money learning how to use remote conference tools efficiently. You can decide to build a factory 10 000 miles from the physical place it will be built on. This is called progress, evolution. No need to move the body of the bright guy who makes decisions.

Get serious, civil supersonic flight might be cool, thrilling for its passengers and rewarding for the engineers involved in it, but it's pointless.

Don't underestimate JSA. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291771)

Don't underestimate Japan Space Agency. They are the guys who invented the Ramen Noodles, together with agency that invented Velcro they are bound to create something revolutionary.

Tokyo to NY in 3 Hours (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291906)

For those who can afford it its great, for the vast majority of the world's population, they will never fly on it.
Should taxpayers have to fund NASA supersonic jet projects that they will never fly on?

Then again, the money is better spent here than say some new WMD.

Correction:Tokyo to LA in 3 Hours (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291934)

Sorry....just woke up, haven't had my jet fuel yet.

Re:Tokyo to NY in 3 Hours (1)

DRM_is_Stupid (954094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292014)

Well, NASA was probably going to spend money on supersonic jets anyway, so which is better - NASA developing super sonic jets and not selling any, vs. developing them, then selling it to Japan for profit?

Also, only a few generations ago, air travel was enjoyed by only the richest. But now most people in developed nations can afford to fly at least once in their lifetime. Most technology that's expensive one day eventually drops in price. This is usually the case (people on /. should know this), however with airlines the main cost factor is fuel, which is a problem we are increasingly having trouble dealing with.

Re:Tokyo to NY in 3 Hours (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292046)

But now most people in developed nations can afford to fly at least once in their lifetime.

But why would they except for the fact that they said the did it? Most likely, people will spend that money on a vacation that last 3+ days and not 3 hours.

Re:Tokyo to NY in 3 Hours (1)

Too many errors, bai (815931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292147)

Who said supersonic vehicles can only be used for personal transport? Might just be the way to go for 1-day cargo shipping. Supersonic shipping would be the logistics industry's wet dream.

Is this fesable? (1)

ColourlessGreenIdeas (711076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291971)

Current scramjets are very small pilotless machines that fail half the time, don't work below mach 5 and are crashed on landing. It seems quite a lot of work needs to be dont to make a commercial scramjet. 2025 seems ambitious for getting it done.

How do they intend to get the thing started? Can scramjets work at slower speeds with more development? Will they strap a load of booster rockets on the back?

What about Unobtainium? (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292021)

Scramjets at Mach 5+ are nice, but what about the Unobtainium needed to actually build a large airframe that suports that kind of speed?

Is there a market for this ? (1, Troll)

kegon (766647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292180)

According to my selective memory, Concorde failed because the US, Boeing etc realised that Britain and France had stolen a march on the next generation of aerospace technology. Looking for an excuse to avoid being left behind, they proceeded to campaign bitterly that supersonic flights would be continuously breaking windows in peoples houses everytime they flew overhead and that the environmental damage would be disastrous. This limited the number of routes and carriers that would accept Concorde and in the end only British Airways and Air France ran a token fleet. See here [wikipedia.org] for more neutral reporting.

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).

At the end of the day, the Airbus A380 [wikipedia.org] is going to carry around 800 people at far greater scales of economy and comfort than any future civilian supersonic aircraft. It would be nice to have one, but haven't airlines already committed to larger and more economic than smaller and faster ?

Also, Japan must partner, otherwise they'll hit the same problems the British and French had, back in the day.

I don't get it (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292268)

Why exactly is "Japan is looking for the next generation supersonic flight solution"? They didn't much use the one(s) before.
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