The rapid development of commercial aviation in the 1950s and 1960s, coupled with advancing aircraft technology, led Great Britain and France to pool resources to create the famous supersonic Concorde airliner. As soon as the Soviet government got wind of this program, it tasked the national aircraft industry with an even more ambitious project: the Soviet Union was to create an SST entirely on its own v and ahead of the West; this was a matter of national prestige. Predictably, Andrey N. Tupolev received the assignment to create the airliner that would place the Soviet Union in the lead. At the cost of a tremendous research and development effort, the target was met v designated Tu-144 (and dubbed, rather mockingly, Concordski by the West), the Soviet SST took to the air in December 1968 ahead of its Anglo- French counterpart. This book gives a detailed account of the Tu-144's design and explains the reasons of its premature withdrawal; it also describes the type's recent use in a new-generation SST technology research program held jointly with NASA. It is illustrated with numerous previously unreleased photos and line drawings.