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NASA/Boeing/Lockheed SST 2030

Mike Pryce

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Some seriously cool looking studies for a 2030 SST, studied under NASA contract:

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/aviation_week/on_space_and_technology/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&newspaperUserId=a68cb417-3364-4fbf-a9dd-4feda680ec9c&plckPostId=Blog%3aa68cb417-3364-4fbf-a9dd-4feda680ec9cPost%3a74b6d2b5-2ad7-4f70-bce0-bd7d040f8360&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest

Linked to the subsonic studies from this other thread as part of a wider future transports study:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,10027.0.html

So, if a 2030 SST works out I can go on one for my 60th birthday the following year. My mother went on Concorde for her 60th, in 1993. That is kind of depressing - no progress at all. Better start saving for a Virgin Galactic flight instead!
 

Mike Pryce

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Propulsion studies for supersonic and subsonic studies:

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/aviation_week/on_space_and_technology/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&newspaperUserId=a68cb417-3364-4fbf-a9dd-4feda680ec9c&plckPostId=Blog:a68cb417-3364-4fbf-a9dd-4feda680ec9cPost:9e9ac629-3df4-4704-aaf6-4bdfd2932226&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest]
 

LowObservable

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I have observed on occasion that every time NASA studies the SST it recedes farther into the future.

Circa 1960, the SST was expected to be operational around 1970.

The mid-70s studies were aimed about 1990.

The 1990s studies foresaw tech demos starting in late 90s and a full-scale launch in early 2000s.

Today, it's 20 years off.

Conclusion: there will never be another SST until NASA is abolished, and its fields sown with salt.
 

Orionblamblam

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LowObservable said:
Conclusion: there will never be another SST until NASA is abolished, and its fields sown with salt.

Unfair. A more likely conclusion is that there will never be anothe SST until the government gets out of trying to control the concept. Neither trying to determine what the next SST will be, nor trying to bureaucratize the whole concept out of existence with high taxes and onerous environmental regulations.

Let Boeing and Lockheed fight it out to develop a new SST, and let them use NASA resources for research. But don't let NASA control the program.
 

Triton

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What is the level of demand by passengers in 2010, or in twenty years time, for supersonic travel? How much of a speed premium are passengers willing to pay,what percentage of the air travelers can afford this speed premium, or what price differential are companies willing to pay for this speed premium to send their employees on business trips? Remember that most business travelers fly coach. How has new technology developed since the 1960s, like computers, the Internet, and video conferencing, eliminated the need for some business air travel to attend meetings and conferences?

Also remember that the airlines weren't interested in Boeing's Sonic Cruiser because of existing airport infrastructure reasons and its higher fuel consumption compared to existing subsonic aircraft. Airlines aren't willing to build new gates or sky bridges without increases in passenger capacity or pay for fuel guzzlers in times of increasing fuel prices.

The real reason that there aren't any SSTs, and Concorde was retired, is that providing airline air travel at supersonic speeds just doesn't make economic sense. Supersonic travel needs to be less expensive for travelers, quieter, use less liters/gallons of expensive fuel, and use existing airport infrastructure. I don't believe that taxes, bureaucracy, or environmental regulations, besides noise, are significant issues impeding development of supersonic airliners.

If NASA wasn't paying for research in SST airliners, Lockheed and Boeing wouldn't bother. Left entirely to free market forces I am convinced that the market would say no to SST as being too costly compared to its benefits.
 

mz

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I do wonder how much better Concorde would have been with those slightly more modern engines and leading edge slats that were contemplated...
http://www.concordesst.com/concordeb.html

Still, Concorde had 90 tons of fuel. If 90 people travel, that's a ton per trip. It just can't be cheap even if you wouldn't have to pay the crew or do maintenance or pay for airport services.
 

Simon666

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Triton said:
What is the level of demand by passengers in 2010, or in twenty years time, for supersonic travel? How much of a speed premium are passengers willing to pay,what percentage of the air travelers can afford this speed premium, or what price differential are companies willing to pay for this speed premium to send their employees on business trips? Remember that most business travelers fly coach. How has new technology developed since the 1960s, like computers, the Internet, and video conferencing, eliminated the need for some business air travel to attend meetings and conferences?

Also remember that the airlines weren't interested in Boeing's Sonic Cruiser because of existing airport infrastructure reasons and its higher fuel consumption compared to existing subsonic aircraft. Airlines aren't willing to build new gates or sky bridges without increases in passenger capacity or pay for fuel guzzlers in times of increasing fuel prices.

The real reason that there aren't any SSTs, and Concorde was retired, is that providing airline air travel at supersonic speeds just doesn't make economic sense. Supersonic travel needs to be less expensive for travelers, quieter, use less liters/gallons of expensive fuel, and use existing airport infrastructure. I don't believe that taxes, bureaucracy, or environmental regulations, besides noise, are significant issues impeding development of supersonic airliners.

If NASA wasn't paying for research in SST airliners, Lockheed and Boeing wouldn't bother. Left entirely to free market forces I am convinced that the market would say no to SST as being too costly compared to its benefits.
Isn't fuel like 33% of DOC costs anyway? So doubling fuel consumption would not double the price of a ticket by any measure. I've always liked the oblique wing SST designs, they can go even slightly boomless supersonic over land, have excellent subsonic fuel consumption, have significantly better fuel consumption than Concorde supersonic, can meet noise regulations far more easily, don't suffer heating and can use conventional materials,... Personally I believe the only thing holding back supersonic airliners is industrial conservatism in design. Disadvantage is cruise speed is not M2.2 but rather 1.4-1.6.
 

Orionblamblam

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Triton said:
If NASA wasn't paying for research in SST airliners, Lockheed and Boeing wouldn't bother. Left entirely to free market forces I am convinced that the market would say no to SST as being too costly compared to its benefits.

Then so be it. It's better to have industry do the cost/benefit analysis before a major program and rejecting it as uneconomical, than having the government blow vast sums of taxpayer dollars on a program that they'll get halfway through on and then abandon (or, worse still, maintain for decades with no recognizable gain).

Let NASA do what the second "A" says it's supposed to do... aeronautical research. Let them do studies of configurations for maximum economy and minimum boom; let them puzzle out new engine and nacelle designs. And then let them turn that data over to American industry to either build it or not, as the market dictates.

As the cost of fuel increases, and as the time spent in dealing with bureaucratic bullcrap at the airports increases (there once was a time when you could arrive at the ticket counter mere *minutes* before the plane shut its door... now, be prepared for hours), the economic and even time advantages of SSTs will continue to decline. Assuming the planetary economy doesn't wholly collpase, I would not be surprised to see in thirty or forty years that the bulk of trans-continental passenger transport is done by things like dirigibles. Slow, but cheap.
 

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