Aircraft Designer Tupelov Dies
MOSCOW (AP) _ Alexei Tupolev, a noted aircraft designer who helped build the first Soviet supersonic passenger jet and the Soviet space shuttle, has died at the age of 76, news reports said Sunday.
Tupolev died in Moscow on Saturday, Interfax and NTV television news reported.
In Soviet times, Tupolev supervised the development of military and civil aircraft, including the Tu-144 supersonic jet and the Tu-2000, the Soviet version of a space shuttle.
He began working on the Tu-144 in 1963 and continued to work on it until its first flight in 1968. The supersonic jet fell into disuse after a Tu-144 crashed at a Paris air show in 1973 and because of the high cost of its continued operation.
The Tu-160 jet bomber was made on a prototype of the Tu-144.
Tupolev also helped design the Buran space shuttle, which was modeled after the U.S. space shuttle. It made one unmanned test flight in 1988 before its development was abandoned for lack of funds.
He had worked on many projects with his father, the famed Soviet aircraft pioneer Andrei Tupolev, who died in 1972.
The elder Tupolev created more than 100 types of military and civilian aircraft, including the Antonov-25 and the Tu-104, the Soviet Union’s first passenger jet. He also worked on the Tu-144 project with his son.