Christine M. Darden
Advanced Vehicles Div., NASA---Langley Res. Ctr., M.S. 412, Hampton, VA 23665
In response to a study by the Office of Science and Technology of the Office of the President that identified technology development to support a long-range supersonic transport as one of the national aeronautical goals, NASA awarded contracts for market and technology feasibility studies of a high-speed civil transport (HSCT) to Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Douglas Aircraft Company in October 1986. Areas to be emphasized in these feasibility studies included market, economics, range, Mach number, fuels, payload, and technology needs. As a result of these studies, NASA initiated a program in 1990 to identify and develop technical and economically feasible solutions to environmental concerns surrounding this type of airplane. A second phase of the program to enhance the economic competitiveness of the vehicle is scheduled to begin in 1994. Results of the early studies showed that the economic viability of a supersonic transport would be tremendously reduced by environmental impact associated with sonic boom which limits overland supersonic flight. Research to develop technologies that would allow supersonic overland flight have been an important part of Phase I of NASA's high speed research (HSR) program. Results of the feasibility studies that support the current HSR research will be covered in a 10-min overview.