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> Do you ever wonder when we'll build something so daring that it will finally eclipse this project?

We can't do that kind of engineering anymore. Computers have made us ... lazy? That's not really the word. With so much computing power at hand, we just don't have the pinpoint focus that it would take to make another SR-71 and not hobble it with over engineering and feature creep. Or even just being able to let go of a nagging problem. For example, a proper sealant couldn't be found to keep the fuel from leaking so they just said whatever and let it leak fuel until it warmed up. Nobody would do that today.

The real problem is that the mission the SR-71 was built for doesn't exist anymore, and nobody else with a need to go that fast has the money to back it up. We could build a successor the SR-71 that would go even faster and further and have fewer weird issues like fuel leaking out constantly, but it would cost a lot more (even inflation adjusted) than the SR-71 did and fulfill a mission that nobody was asking for.

Computers didn't make us lazy, but the Git-R-Done mentality of the old projects got gobbled up by the bureaucracy in all of our big defense contractors/aerospace companies. It's super hard for a Kelly Johnson type to fend off thousands of middle managers all trying to justify their position.

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