Tu-144, the first supersonic jet , 1969

Tu-144, the first supersonic jet , 1969

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Credit: SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: First supersonic jet, the Tupolev Tu-144, in flight over Russia in June 1969, being escorted by a MiG-21 fighter jet (lower left). The Tu-144, developed by the Soviet Union, was the world's first supersonic passenger transport. It made a successful test flight on 31 December 1968, two months before Concorde, and first broke the sound barrier on 5 June 1969. However, a series of crashes and problems led to passenger services being discontinued, with the last official flight taking place in 1978.

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