Farewell to the Concorde

Christopher Hitchens traveled on one of the last Concorde flights from New York to London and ruminates that “the decision to cease supersonic travel is… like that of a Victorian who, hitting on the internal combustion engine, contemplated its beauty and efficiency and then, sighingly, got behind the horse again and connected the reins to the buggy.”

That’s sort of how I feel about what happened to manned space flight since the missions to the moon ended in the early 1970s.

I suppose it’s an often-noted irony that development of the Concorde– which made it possible for those who could afford the astronomical ticket prices to fly between New York and London in three to four hours– was pushed through by the outspokenly left-wing Tony Benn.

As Robert van der Linden, flight curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, said of the Concorde: “It made the world a lot smaller – but only for a few people.”