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