Japanese Space Agency To Test Supersonic Aircraft

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Concorde's demise left the world bereft of supersonic passenger travel, but Japan's space agency is working on a design that could fill that void. It was reported this week that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will test a model of a supersonic airplane next month over the Australian desert. JAXA is working under a joint agreement with France that was announced at the Paris Air Show in June. The uncrewed mock-up will be launched from a booster rocket, accelerate to Mach 2, and return to the ground under a parachute. The plan aims to build a jet that could carry 300 passengers from New York to Tokyo in under six hours, as soon as 2015. Japan conducted a similar test in 2002 that failed when the test aircraft separated from the rocket prematurely and crashed.