Concorde 2.0: Reinventing Supersonic Technology
The Concorde, a British-French supersonic jet, captured the hearts and minds of aviators, business professionals, and celebrities around the world through its iconic design, superior features, and unique inflight experience. Despite its transcendent appeal, the jet became surrounded by controversy, catastrophe, an environmental movement, and changing consumer trends, all of which led to its grounding in 2003. In almost two decades, no aerospace program had been successful in recreating commercial supersonic air travel. The Concorde's story showed that these non-technical aspects of technology adoption and diffusion were strong enough to force the retirement of a superior, breakthrough technology and replace it with an inferior one. In 2021, did it make sense to aim to commercialize supersonic travel by imitating the good in the Concorde and tweaking the downsides, or was there a hidden reason why the Concorde had failed and supersonic transport had not been recreated?