NASA awards Boeing company for the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project. The project aims to create a new generation of narrow-body green commercial airplanes. The winning Boeing will work with the space agency to build, test, and pilot a full-scale demonstrator aircraft.
In the next seven years, NASA will invest 425 million dollars, while Boeing and its partners will contribute to the funding of the remaining 725 million dollars. As part of the agreement, the space agency will help provide technical skills and facilities. Narrow-body airplanes are the backbone of many airline fleets. Due to their intensive use, they account for almost half of the world’s aviation emissions.
NASA plans to complete testing by the end of the 2020s, so that the technologies and projects can influence the creation of the next generation of airplanes. “Since the beginning, NASA has been with you when you fly. NASA has dared to go further, faster, higher. And in doing so, NASA has made aviation more sustainable and reliable. It’s in our DNA” said Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Our goal with Boeing is to produce and test a full-scale demonstrator that will make future commercial airplanes more efficient, all to the benefit of the environment, the commercial aviation industry, and passengers. If we succeed, we could see these technologies on airplanes that the public will fly after 2030.”
Transonic Truss-Braced Wing
NASA awards Boeing for designing the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing demonstrator aircraft, which could soon be produced on a large scale. The concept includes an aircraft with extra-long and thin wings stabilized by diagonal braces. The design makes the aircraft much more energy-efficient compared to a traditional commercial airplane due to the shape creating less resistance.
“We are partnering with Boeing to develop revolutionary technologies to reduce energy use and emissions in the coming decades, towards the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050” said Bob Pearce, NASA associate administrator. The goal of NASA is that the technology used on the demonstrator aircraft, when combined with other advancements in propulsion systems, materials, and systems architecture, would result in a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions of up to 30% compared to the most efficient aircraft on the market.
“We are honored to continue our partnership with NASA. We want to demonstrate that this technology will significantly improve aerodynamic efficiency, resulting in reduced fuel consumption” said Todd Citron, CTO of Boeing. “Boeing has been pursuing a sustainability strategy on multiple fronts, including fleet renewal, operational efficiency, renewable energy, and advanced technologies. The goal is to bring the US aviation to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The sustainable flight demonstrator builds on more than a decade of investment by NASA, Boeing, and our industry partners to help achieve the ultimate goal.”