By kjfitz @ 2007-09-05 13:30:33
The Tupolev Tu-144 (NATO reporting name: Charger) was the first supersonic transport aircraft (SST), constructed under the direction of the Soviet Tupolev design bureau headed by Alexei Tupolev (1925–2001).
Western observers nicknamed the plane Concordski (sometimes Konkordski), sounding like a Russian surname yet still very close to the Concorde, to which the Tu-144 was visually similar. A prototype first flew on 31 December 1968 near Moscow, two months before Concorde. The Tu-144 first broke the sound barrier on 5 June 1969, and on 15 July 1969 it became the first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2, and the fastest commercial airliner ever.
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