NASA commissions study to develop future aircraft

October 7th, 2008 - 5:05 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 7 (Xinhua) US space agency NASA Monday said that it has awarded seperate contracts worth $12.4 million to six aviation companies to study advanced technologies for developing future transport aircraft.The Boeing Company, GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin Corp., Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northrop Grumman received separate 18-month long study contracts valued at approximately $2 million each.

The focus of the studies is on commercial transport planes that can overcome performance and environmental challenges for the benefit of the general public, NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, said.

The work will identify key technology development needs such as advanced airframes and propulsion systems, as well as breakthroughs that will enable such vehicles to enter service in 2030-2035.

The planes represent a research and development programme known as “N+3″, indicating three generations beyond the current commercial transport fleet, NASA said.

“The future of air transportation is all about protecting the environment and responding to increasing energy costs in a balanced way,” said Juan Alonso, director of NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Programme here.

“We will need airplanes that are quieter and more fuel efficient, and cleaner-burning fuels to power them. We are challenging industry to introduce these new technologies without impairing the convenience, safety and security of commercial air transportation,” Alonso said.

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