Photo: GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images
The NASA is looking to develop a new type of aircraft that is eco-friendly and less polluting, for which reason the project was awarded to the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
The US space agency recently revealed that it awarded The Boeing Company the project Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (Sustainable Flight Demonstrator), which aims to inform about a possible new generation of eco-friendly single-aisle aircraft.
Following the signing of the agreement, a US multinational company that manufactures aircraft will work with NASA to build, test and fly a full-scale demo aircraft and validate technologies aimed at reducing polluting emissions.
“Our goal is that NASA’s partnership with Boeing to produce and test a full-scale demonstrator will contribute to make future commercial aircraft more fuel efficientwith benefits for the environment, the commercial aviation industry and passengers around the world,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
According to the agreement reached, over seven years, NASA will invest 425 million dollarswhile the company and its partners will provide the rest of the total financing of the agreement, which is currently estimated at about 725 million dollars.
NASA plans complete testing of the project by the end of the 2020sso that the technologies and designs demonstrated by the project can inform industry decisions on the next generation of single-aisle aircraft that could enter service in the 2030s.
“If we are successful, it is possible that let’s see these technologies in airplanes that the public will take to the skies in the 2030s,” added Bill Nelson.
What will the new sustainable airplane be like?
Through the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, Boeing and its industry team will partner with NASA to develop and flight test a Transonic Truss-Braced Wing demo aircraft on a real scale.
The Transonic Truss-Braced Wing concept consists of an airplane with extra long and thin wings stabilized by diagonal struts. This design results in a much more fuel efficient aircraft than a traditional airliner due to a shape that would create less drag, resulting in a lower fuel consumption.
“NASA works with the ambitious goal of developing revolutionary technologies to rreduce energy consumption and aviation emissions in the coming decades, in order for the aviation community to reach the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Bob Pearce, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.
NASA’s goal is that the technology used in the demonstration aircraft, combined with other advances in propulsion systems, materials, and systems architecture, reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30% relative to today’s most efficient single-aisle aircraft, depending on the mission.
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