Boeing joins NASA list of contractors for project to identify airliner of the future with half the emissions of today's aircraft
The innovative noise-reducing saw-tooth chevrons on the engines of Boeing’s new 787 were developed by NASA (photo: Boeing)
Mon 13 Dec 2010 – NASA has awarded a third contract for studies designed to identify advanced concepts for airliners that could enter service in 2025, fly with less noise, cleaner exhaust and lower fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The contract, worth $5.29 million, will be undertaken by a Boeing team based at Huntington Beach, California, and will run for one year starting this month. In November, NASA awarded contracts to two other California-based aerospace companies, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, to carry out similar work (see story). The research contracts will identify innovations that will provide the necessary technologies to industry for development and flight demonstrations to support technology that is two generations more advanced than what is on aircraft in service today, which NASA terms as N+2.
A key objective of the N+2 research is to ensure the technological elements proposed for meeting NASA’s noise, emissions and fuel burn reduction goals can be integrated on a single aircraft that could operate safely within a modernized air traffic management system, such as the US programme NextGen. NASA expects the US air transportation system will expand by a factor of two or three within the next two decades, potentially increasing aviation’s contribution to climate change.
The aim of NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project, which is sponsoring the research studies, is to develop technology that would enable future aircraft to burn 50% less fuel than today’s most efficient models, with 50% fewer harmful emissions, and to shrink the size of geographic areas affected by objectionable airport noise by 83%.
The Boeing team will define a preferred system concept for an aircraft that can achieve speeds of up to 85% of the speed of sound (650mph or 1050km/h), cover a range of nearly 7,000 miles and carry between 50,000 and 100,000 pounds of payload, either passengers or cargo.
Under N+3, NASA is aiming for reductions in fuel burn and emissions of 70%, a reduction of 75% in LTO NOx emissions relative to the CAEP 6 standard and noise levels 71db below Stage 4 levels (compared with -42db for N+2).
The ERA project is part of the Integrated Systems Research Program managed by NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington.