NASA Launches Program to Support Future Single-aisle Commercial Aircraft | New
NASA aims to launch a program to advance the technologies needed to support the development of a “next-generation single-aisle” transport aircraft that is 25% more efficient than jets flying today.
Called the “National Sustainable Flight Partnership” (SFNP), the effort will include the development of a “large-scale technology demonstration X-plane, to test and validate integrated systems and their benefits,” according to budget documents. recently published by NASA.
The agency aims for the demonstrator to make its first flight by fiscal year 2026.
NASA released the budget documents as President Joe Biden released his 10-year budget proposal. Biden’s budget asks NASA for $ 24.8 billion for fiscal 2022, up 6.6% from fiscal 2021.
The SFNP “broadly aims to fulfill the aviation community’s aggressive climate change agenda and strengthen America’s global leadership in aviation,” according to the budget documents.
“NASA Aeronautics’ cost-sharing partnerships with US industry will enable the next-generation single-aisle transport, expected in the early 2030s, to be a revolutionary, ultra-efficient, low-carbon design of at least 25% more fuel efficient than today, ”he adds.
As part of the program, NASA “will demonstrate the very first high power hybrid electric propulsion for large transport planes and very high efficiency long thin wings.”
NASA intends to award the first “electrified powertrain flight demonstration” contracts this year.
The effort includes evaluating “advanced composite structures produced four to six times faster than current advanced engine technologies.”
“NASA will ensure that the technologies are ready by the mid to late 2020s to move to the next generation of single-aisle transport aircraft in the US industry,” he said.
NASA qualifies the SFNP as “a strong response to the international challenges of American technological leadership for next-generation subsonic transport”.
The pressure came from the European Union, which is supporting projects to develop clean propulsion for aviation. The US aerospace industry is also facing increasing competitive pressure from China.
News of NASA’s civil aviation work comes as the aviation industry waits for Boeing’s next move. Aerospace analysts suspect the company may launch a program to replace the 737 in the coming years, for entry into service in the early 2030s.
Boeing said its next project will rely heavily on technological improvement built into its design, development and manufacturing processes.
Engine manufacturers, on the other hand, continue to develop technologies such as hybrid electric propulsion and hydrogen systems, although these technologies are widely seen as requiring years of further development.