NASA announced on Wednesday that it has issued an award to The Boeing Company to develop more sustainable single-aisle aircraft. The US-based space agency will invest $425 million over seven years, and Boeing will work with the space agency to build, test, and fly a full-scale demonstrator aircraft and validate technologies aimed at lowering emissions.
According to NASA, single-aisle aircraft are the workhorses of many airline fleets and thereby contribute to nearly half of worldwide aviation emissions. The space agency plans to complete testing for the project by the late 2020s so that the next-generation aircraft can enter into service in the 2030s. The agency will also contribute technical expertise and facilities as part of the agreement.
Through NASA’s Sustainability Flight Demonstrator project, Boeing will develop and flight-test a full-scale Transonic Truss-Braced Wing demonstrator aircraft. The concept involves an aircraft that will have extra-long thin wings stabilised by diagonal struts. According to the space agency, this design will result in an aircraft that is much more fuel-efficient than a traditional airliner due to a shape that could create less drag.
We’re partnering with @Boeing to develop technologies for the next generation of single-aisle aircraft. We’ll collaborate on a full-scale demonstrator by 2030 to help the U.S. achieve net-zero carbon emissions from aviation by 2050. Follow @NASAAero: https://t.co/dFikvL0YPa pic.twitter.com/TMXIupCyEh
— NASA (@NASA) January 18, 2023
“NASA is working toward an ambitious goal of developing game-changing technologies to reduce aviation energy use and emissions over the coming decades toward an aviation community goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Transonic Truss-Braced Wing is the kind of transformative concept and investment we will need to meet those challenges and, critically, the technologies demonstrated in this project have a clear and viable path to informing the next generation of single-aisle aircraft, benefiting everyone that uses the air transportation system,” said NASA associate administrator Bob Pearce in an agency press statement.
The space agency hopes that the technology demonstrated with the concept aircraft will help reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30 per cent when combined with advancements in propulsion systems, materials and systems architecture.