High-Speed Dreams: NASA and the Technopolitics of Supersonic Transportation, 1945-1999

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In High-Speed Dreams, Erik M. Conway constructs an insightful history that focuses primarily on the political and commercial factors responsible for the rise and fall of American supersonic transport research programs. Conway charts commercial supersonic research efforts through the changing relationships between international and domestic politicians, military/NASA contractors, private investors, and environmentalists. He documents post-World War II efforts at the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics and ...

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High-Speed Dreams: NASA and the Technopolitics of Supersonic Transportation, 1945-1999

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Overview

In High-Speed Dreams, Erik M. Conway constructs an insightful history that focuses primarily on the political and commercial factors responsible for the rise and fall of American supersonic transport research programs. Conway charts commercial supersonic research efforts through the changing relationships between international and domestic politicians, military/NASA contractors, private investors, and environmentalists. He documents post-World War II efforts at the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics and the Defense Department to generate supersonic flight technologies, the attempts to commercialize these technologies by Britain and the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, environmental campaigns against SST technology in the 1970s, and subsequent attempts to revitalize supersonic technology at the end of the century.

High-Speed Dreams is a sophisticated study of politics, economics, nationalism, and the global pursuit of progress. Historians, along with participants in current aerospace research programs, will gain valuable perspective on the interaction of politics and technology.

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Editorial Reviews

Air and Space Magazine

A concise and thoroughly fascinating history of the train wreck that was the U.S. supersonic civil transport programs.

Airways

A readable narrative on the interplay between politics, technology, and economics.

Choice

Of interest to historians and social scientists concerned with the politics and economics of public policy... An important book on a fascinating topic.

History and Technology

Comprehensive and enjoyable... A cautionary tale of half-baked federal technology and economic policies high-jacking public funds for a concept aircraft that was an engineering boondoggle, a financial black hole and an environmental fiend.

— Thomas Yates

Isis

Conway does an excellent job of explaining the nationalism inherent in supersonic transport during the Cold War and the domestic American politics surrounding the project.

— Stephen G. Craft

Journal of American History

[Conway's] examination of the development of supersonic aviation and the various SST programs provides a fascinating internal look at how the technology developed, while also connecting that development with the issue of the larger meaning of technology in society.

— Andrew Baird

Satellite Evolution Group

A serious academic work... likely to interest historians and those interested in aerospace research.

Technology and Culture

Conway seems to have struck the right balance between the nuts-and-bolts of aircraft design and discussion of larger issues, particularly state support for advanced technology... An original and valuable contribution to the saga of a dream deferred.

— Virginia P. Dawson

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801880674
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Series: New Series in NASA History Series
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Erik M. Conway serves as historian, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

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