NASA funds aircraft efficiency research

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NASA is soliciting proposals for studies designed to identify advanced vehicle concepts and enabling technologies for commercial airliners to fly more economically, quieter and less polluting by 2025.

This research will support the Integrated Systems Research Program in NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington.

The solicitation is the first of several expected under the directorate’s Research Opportunities in Aeronautics announcement for 2010, released on 2 June.

The total potential value of the research contracts is $36.6m (£25m) and proposals are due by 15 July.

NASA will select up to four teams for 12-month studies beginning in fiscal year 2011. The studies will define preferred concepts for advanced vehicles that can operate within the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), a US government air traffic modernisation effort that includes NASA.

According to NASA, the concepts must incorporate technologies enabling large, twin-aisle passenger aircraft to achieve ambitious environmental goals.

These goals include 50 per cent less fuel consumption and nitrogen oxide emissions compared with today’s airliners and an 80 per cent reduction in noise around airports.

After nine months’ work on preferred systems’ concepts, each team will be eligible to submit proposals for a sub-scale flight demonstrator design.

NASA will select one or two concepts for 17 months of preliminary design work and risk-reduction testing for completion by mid-2013.