Author Topic: NASA Administrator to Make X-Plane Announcement at Reagan National Media Event  (Read 23363 times)

Offline jacqmans

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February 25, 2016
MEDIA ADVISORY M16-017

NASA Administrator to Make X-Plane Announcement at Reagan National Media Event

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Research Jaiwon Shin will be at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, at 1:30 p.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 29, to discuss with media NASA’s advanced aeronautic concepts. They’ll also make an announcement about the agency’s plan for a series of experimental aircraft.

Bolden and Shin will discuss NASA’s research into green aviation technologies, a critical part of President Obama’s push to build a clean transportation system for the 21st century, and the agency’s New Aviation Horizons initiative, which is a 10-year plan to build a series of experimental aircraft, or X-planes. Models and graphics of potential X-plane designs will be on site for viewing.

Representatives from the Aerospace Industries Association and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics also will attend.

The media event will be held at the south end of Reagan National’s Terminal B on the ticketing level next to the Alaska Airlines/Delta Airlines ticket areas. Reporters should park in the Terminal B parking area for closest entry. If being dropped off, enter through Door 1 on the Departures ramp.

For more information about NASA’s aeronautics research, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/aero

Online TrevorMonty

We tend to forget on this forum that one of the A in NASA stands for Aeronautics.

Offline redliox

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We tend to forget on this forum that one of the A in NASA stands for Aeronautics.

True I'll admit.  I would be curious to know what NASA plans to roll out next for a new plane.
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Online Borklund

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I for one welcome our new blended wing body overlords.

Offline kevin-rf

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The hybrid pusher tail design offers a significant reduction in fuel burn. Lots of near term application. Been some good articles on it recently. Airbus showed a similar concept design recently.

Would love to see Boeing use the concept for either MOM (Middle of Market, the hole between 737-9x and 787-8) or NSA (New Single Aisle, 737 replacement).
I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

Offline kevin-rf

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Btw. for the non aviation types, clockwise from the top.

Super sonic boom noise reduction test aircraft.
   2003, initial test with an F-5E with a modified nose, 2007 tests on an F-15b with a modified nose.

Blended body vehicle.   
   X-48 drone tested the concept. Tests started in 2004 and still continuing. Currently testing with the X-48C.

Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology Operations Research aircraft.
   NASA plans to modify a Tecnam P2006T to explore the system level impacts of distributed electric propulsion.

Hybrid Electric Concept Aircraft
    Placing an electric fan in the trail reduces drag improving the overall fuel burn while allowing a reduction in the bypass ratio of the turbo fans under the winds. The extra weight of the the fan is offset by the smaller turbo fan engines. Cool concept. Also would have better ground clearance. I would love to see Boeing do this with MOM.
I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

Offline Star One

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We tend to forget on this forum that one of the A in NASA stands for Aeronautics.

True I'll admit.  I would be curious to know what NASA plans to roll out next for a new plane.

Quiet Boom demonstrator is the top priority at the moment. The design shown in the poster is LM's which was the winning concept.

One interesting vehicle I'll be looking out for is the NASA/LM hypersonic demonstrator. When NASA it was announced were getting LM to do analysis in relation to the SR-72 there was talk then of NASA building a demonstrator.

Quote
If the study is successful, NASA wants to fund a demonstration programme. Lockheed would test the dual-mode ramjet in a flight research vehicle, and try to find solutions to issues like engine packaging and designing the thermal management system, Bartolotta says.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/nasa-launches-study-for-skunk-works-sr-72-concept-407222/

The blended wing body looks very much like the AFRL's design for a future transport aircraft.

http://m.aviationweek.com/awin/lockheed-martin-refines-hybrid-wing-body-airlifter-concept
« Last Edit: 02/26/2016 03:26 PM by Star One »

Offline kevin-rf

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btw. Refound the Aviation Week article on the hybrid pusher concept. To me, it's the class of planes flying in the largest numbers (737, a320) and they are talking something like an 18% fuel burn improvement. It is just the most return on investment.

http://aviationweek.com/technology/nasa-surprised-hybrid-power-study-results

Add in Boeing expected to go forward with MOM in 2017, and they pushed the 737 as far as it can go. You cannot put a larger fan on it. This would be perfect.

One side note. I read a while back on the blended body design something I do not quite understand. During a turn passengers seated out towards the wing will experience higher g loads than those seated in the center. Not sure how that works, is the turn radius that small?

I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

Offline R7

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Quiet Boom demonstrator is the top priority at the moment.

If the tendency is towards greener aviation I fail to see supersonic flight as top priority with or without boom. Hybrids, solar/battery electric more likely.
AD·ASTRA·ASTRORVM·GRATIA

Offline Star One

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Quiet Boom demonstrator is the top priority at the moment.

If the tendency is towards greener aviation I fail to see supersonic flight as top priority with or without boom. Hybrids, solar/battery electric more likely.

Quiet Boom has already been stated more than once that NASA along with industry partners regard this as a high priority goal.
« Last Edit: 02/27/2016 05:05 PM by Star One »

Offline Robotbeat

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Quiet Boom demonstrator is the top priority at the moment.

If the tendency is towards greener aviation I fail to see supersonic flight as top priority with or without boom. Hybrids, solar/battery electric more likely.
Why not both?  8)
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Robotbeat

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online TrevorMonty

Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.
The initial market for electric planes is likely to be short haul <500km. In this market their lower operating costs should beat the current twin turboprop aircraft. Electric engines should be considerably cheaper to maintain than complex turboprops.

Offline R7

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Why not both?  8)

My koolaidX is too dilluted to believe in supersonic electric jets in any near future.  :)
AD·ASTRA·ASTRORVM·GRATIA

Offline Rocket Science

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.
Chris, do you have a projected turn-around time for re-charge on such a design?

~Rob
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Offline rocx

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.
Chris, do you have a projected turn-around time for re-charge on such a design?

~Rob

I strongly suppose that if a fully battery operated airplane enters commercial operation, it would need to come with a quick battery swap option to keep turnaround time low and thermal loads acceptable.
Any day with a rocket landing is a fantastic day.

Offline 93143

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I read a while back on the blended body design something I do not quite understand. During a turn passengers seated out towards the wing will experience higher g loads than those seated in the center. Not sure how that works, is the turn radius that small?

Wouldn't that refer specifically to the bank maneuver itself?  The rotation of the vehicle would be much more noticeable that far from the roll axis.

Offline Rocket Science

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.
Chris, do you have a projected turn-around time for re-charge on such a design?

~Rob

I strongly suppose that if a fully battery operated airplane enters commercial operation, it would need to come with a quick battery swap option to keep turnaround time low and thermal loads acceptable.
That's  how I would see it at this point in time (technology) as well.
“The laws of physics are unforgiving”...
Rob

Offline Burninate

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I read a while back on the blended body design something I do not quite understand. During a turn passengers seated out towards the wing will experience higher g loads than those seated in the center. Not sure how that works, is the turn radius that small?

Wouldn't that refer specifically to the bank maneuver itself?  The rotation of the vehicle would be much more noticeable that far from the roll axis.

Probably refers to rolling in general.  An already-banked turn that still has rudder involvement will indeed put higher lateral (not vertical) g-loading on the outer edge, but it's likely to be a very small difference because the turn radius is high.
« Last Edit: 02/28/2016 06:21 PM by Burninate »

Offline Star One

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any takers on what design concept will be picked?

Quiet Boom.

Offline kevin-rf

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Hoping for the Hybrid tail fan. Call me a fan ;)
I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

Offline 93143

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I read a while back on the blended body design something I do not quite understand. During a turn passengers seated out towards the wing will experience higher g loads than those seated in the center. Not sure how that works, is the turn radius that small?

Wouldn't that refer specifically to the bank maneuver itself?  The rotation of the vehicle would be much more noticeable that far from the roll axis.

Probably refers to rolling in general.  An already-banked turn that still has rudder involvement will indeed put higher lateral (not vertical) g-loading on the outer edge, but it's likely to be a very small difference because the turn radius is high.

Well, yes, that's what I meant.  The seesaw effect.

Online Borklund

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I am rooting for blended wing body. Call me delusional, but I want the future to look (retro)futuristic!

Offline muomega0

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Hoping for the Hybrid tail fan. Call me a fan ;)
I am rooting for blended wing body. Call me delusional, but I want the future to look (retro)futuristic!
My koolaidX is too dilluted to believe in supersonic electric jets in any near future.  :)
NASA spent low level $ (aero is less than 4% of NASA's budget) to understand the technology beyond the VG level over the last 6 years.  Actual data guided the system trades.  Some concepts are easier while other concepts provide more overall benefits, and others are very challenging indeed ( a supersonic electric jet  ;D).   With so few resources and the push to raise the TRL on easier concepts, a push to reduce funding on the lower level high risk higher payoff technology is easy to forecast.

Conceptual Design of a Single-Aisle Turboelectric Commercial Transport with Fuselage Boundary Layer Ingestion

Distributed Propulsion Systems to Maximize the Benefits of Boundary Layer Ingestion

Offline gin455res

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.

Is there any way a hybrid could benefit from using an engine cycle optimised to take advantage of the lower temperature heat sink of frigid stratospheric air. Thinking here of combined-cycle engine with a potentially 70degC (20degC - -50degC,   223K as opposed to 293K) increase in the heat sink dT?  The hybrid would climb to altitude on batteries. (Or would this be better on Titan.)

gas-turbine-> steam turbine -> ORC (organic rankine cycle) turbine -> -50degC atmos.
diesel --> ORC -> -50deg atmos.
steam-piston --> ORC -> -50deg atmos.

[using skylon heat exchangers :) ]

Offline gin455res

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.

Is there any way a hybrid could benefit from using an engine cycle optimised to take advantage of the lower temperature heat sink of frigid stratospheric air. Thinking here of combined-cycle engine with a potentially 70degC (20degC - -50degC,   223K as opposed to 293K) increase in the heat sink dT?  The hybrid would climb to altitude on batteries. (Or would this be better on Titan.)

gas-turbine-> steam turbine -> ORC (organic rankine cycle) turbine -> -50degC atmos.
diesel --> ORC -> -50deg atmos.
steam-piston --> ORC -> -50deg atmos.

[using skylon heat exchangers :) ]
running the steam condenser at 5bar would give the ORC engine an input temperature of 160degC, (the larger the ORC dT the smaller the heat exchanger?)

Online RonM

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From https://twitter.com/NASAAero

Bolden: Lockheed Martin team wins $20m contract to develop preliminary design for a supersonic X-plane.

Shin: Congratulations to Lockheed Martin team inc GE Aviation and Tri-Models Inc. on prelim design contract.

Shin: This [X-planes and a 10-year plan] is OUR moon shot.

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NASA Begins Work to Build a Quieter Supersonic Passenger Jet

The return of supersonic passenger air travel is one step closer to reality with NASA's award of a contract for the preliminary design of a “low boom” flight demonstration aircraft. This is the first in a series of ‘X-planes’ in NASA's New Aviation Horizons initiative, introduced in the agency’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced the award at an event Monday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

“NASA is working hard to make flight greener, safer and quieter – all while developing aircraft that travel faster, and building an aviation system that operates more efficiently,” said Bolden. “To that end, it’s worth noting that it's been almost 70 years since Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 as part of our predecessor agency's high speed research. Now we’re continuing that supersonic X-plane legacy with this preliminary design award for a quieter supersonic jet with an aim toward passenger flight."

NASA selected a team led by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, California, to complete a preliminary design for Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST). The work will be conducted under a task order against the Basic and Applied Aerospace Research and Technology (BAART) contract at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

After conducting feasibility studies and working to better understand acceptable sound levels across the country, NASA's Commercial Supersonic Technology Project asked industry teams to submit design concepts for a piloted test aircraft that can fly at supersonic speeds, creating a supersonic "heartbeat" -- a soft thump rather than the disruptive boom currently associated with supersonic flight.

“Developing, building and flight testing a quiet supersonic X-plane is the next logical step in our path to enabling the industry's decision to open supersonic travel for the flying public," said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission.

Lockheed Martin will receive about $20 million over 17 months for QueSST preliminary design work. The Lockheed Martin team includes subcontractors GE Aviation of Cincinnati and Tri Models Inc. of Huntington Beach, California.

The company will develop baseline aircraft requirements and a preliminary aircraft design, with specifications, and provide supporting documentation for concept formulation and planning. This documentation would be used to prepare for the detailed design, building and testing of the QueSST jet. Performance of this preliminary design also must undergo analytical and wind tunnel validation.

In addition to design and building, this Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) phase of the project also will include validation of community response to the new, quieter supersonic design. The detailed design and building of the QueSST aircraft, conducted under the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate's Integrated Aviation Systems Program, will fall under a future contract competition.

NASA’s 10-year New Aviation Horizons initiative has the ambitious goals of reducing fuel use, emissions and noise through innovations in aircraft design that departs from the conventional tube-and-wing aircraft shape.

The New Aviation Horizons X-planes will typically be about half-scale of a production aircraft and likely are to be piloted. Design-and-build will take several years with aircraft starting their flight campaign around 2020, depending on funding.

For more information about NASA’s aeronautics research, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/aero


Offline Lee Jay

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever.

I did the math here, with some assumptions.

For a vehicle like a 737, a 1000km flight will consume 7,500kg of fuel or the energy in a 62,500kg 400Wh/kg battery (with 100% conversion efficiency to shaft power).  Aerodynamic and propulsion efficiency isn't going to close that gap.

To do a 1000km flight, you'll have to go much, much slower with the battery-electric system for comparable weight.

Offline robertross

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Well not to stomp on the parade, and this would be Chris' call, but is seems to me this announcement is in the realm of aeronautics, not spaceflight.

(though personally I think it's well overdue to have another supersonic aircraft, and it's wickedly cool stuff)
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Offline Blackstar

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Larger image:

Offline Lar

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Well not to stomp on the parade, and this would be Chris' call, but is seems to me this announcement is in the realm of aeronautics, not spaceflight.

(though personally I think it's well overdue to have another supersonic aircraft, and it's wickedly cool stuff)
Good point. That's what the "report to moderator" button is for, put in a note saying you're not sure if this is on topic or not.

ME, I'm going to plump for leaving it because it's NASA rather than just some random cool plane... when **I** use the "report to moderator" button soon as I hit submit.
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Offline Chris Bergin

Yeah, all valid points. I'd say it's cool and if no one's interested no one would post. I say leave it as-is.

Offline Star One

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Well not to stomp on the parade, and this would be Chris' call, but is seems to me this announcement is in the realm of aeronautics, not spaceflight.

(though personally I think it's well overdue to have another supersonic aircraft, and it's wickedly cool stuff)

Have you forgotten what the 'A' stands for in NASA. This is a personal bugbear for me.
« Last Edit: 02/29/2016 10:06 PM by Star One »

Offline Rocket Science

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Well not to stomp on the parade, and this would be Chris' call, but is seems to me this announcement is in the realm of aeronautics, not spaceflight.

(though personally I think it's well overdue to have another supersonic aircraft, and it's wickedly cool stuff)

Have you forgotten what the 'A' stands for in NASA. This is a personal bugbear for me.
Unfortunately for many years it is spelled "NaSA"... :(
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Offline robertross

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Well not to stomp on the parade, and this would be Chris' call, but is seems to me this announcement is in the realm of aeronautics, not spaceflight.

(though personally I think it's well overdue to have another supersonic aircraft, and it's wickedly cool stuff)

Have you forgotten what the 'A' stands for in NASA. This is a personal bugbear for me.

Not at all. I have also been following this thread. I also follow the yearly budgets and appropriations that define the aeronautics portion of NASA's budget.

However, people also seem to forget the name of this site: NASASpaceflight. This is about all things related to space. Certain relates topics have been challenged before, such as unmanned spaceflight & science, as there are specific sites more appropriate than this one. But it had relevance to space, so it was included over time. This vehicle will not go into space: it is for passenger air travel. It is only with the inclusion of NASA that this topic is being covered.

But Chris has no objections, and that's fine. So let's move on.
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Offline kevin-rf

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However, people also seem to forget the name of this site: NASASpaceflight.
Not NASASpaceflight ;)

Of course in the old days the S used to be a C, NACA!
I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

Offline Star One

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However, people also seem to forget the name of this site: NASASpaceflight.
Not NASASpaceflight ;)

Of course in the old days the S used to be a C, NACA!

That's going back a bit.;)

Offline QuantumG

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Faster planes sound great, but personally I just wish more airlines would offer sleepers in coach - and do it better than using up three seats. There's all this unused space between my head and the luggage bin, and even a little under the seat. It's perfect for bunk beds. All the reasons the DC-6B failed are long gone, bring back the sleeper.

When someone is wishing for a pony, there's little to be gained by suggesting a unicorn would be ever better.. ya know, unless it's sarcasm.

Offline kevin-rf

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Oh my, checked whois and NACASpaceFlight.com is available! Quick, hit the mod button and let Chris know!

Kinda bummed it wasn't something that had more near term potential. Like the blended body or the turbo electric hybrid fan. I wonder why they went for sizzle.
I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

Offline Robotbeat

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.
Chris, do you have a projected turn-around time for re-charge on such a design?

~Rob

I strongly suppose that if a fully battery operated airplane enters commercial operation, it would need to come with a quick battery swap option to keep turnaround time low and thermal loads acceptable.
That is an option, but why? A Tesla can recharge to 80% in 40 minutes. Even faster charging is possible and is done with Proterra's fast-charging electric buses in just 5 minutes. So could an aircraft.

If you wanted to keep thermal loads lower (but doesn't seem to be too much of a problem for Teslas), you could hook up to a chiller along with power.
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Offline Lar

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Oh my, checked whois and NACASpaceFlight.com is available! Quick, hit the mod button and let Chris know!

Kinda bummed it wasn't something that had more near term potential. Like the blended body or the turbo electric hybrid fan. I wonder why they went for sizzle.

This one can be spread around to more centers???
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Offline Lee Jay

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.
Chris, do you have a projected turn-around time for re-charge on such a design?

~Rob

I strongly suppose that if a fully battery operated airplane enters commercial operation, it would need to come with a quick battery swap option to keep turnaround time low and thermal loads acceptable.
That is an option, but why?

Do you realize how much power you're talking about here?

Putting, say, 25MWh into a plane in, say, 30 minutes is going to take 50 MW of power.  That's more than comes into the entire airport, most likely.  Now multiply by, say, 40 planes on charge at once.  That's 2,000MW which is about half of the average power consumption in my entire control area.

And do you know what a cable carrying 50MW safely looks like?  It's going to have to be medium voltage.  Let's say it's 13.2kV three-phase.  That's 2,200A.  That's 4 3-conductor 500kcmil mining cables, each one 3 inches in diameter weighing 6 pounds per foot and costing about $50 per foot.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 12:48 AM by Lee Jay »

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever.

I did the math here, with some assumptions.

For a vehicle like a 737, a 1000km flight will consume 7,500kg of fuel or the energy in a 62,500kg 400Wh/kg battery (with 100% conversion efficiency to shaft power).  Aerodynamic and propulsion efficiency isn't going to close that gap....
...except that's exactly what NASA aeronautics are proposing. Distributed propulsion and the blended wing concept, sucking the slowed boundary layer into the turbofans can make a huge difference. Some of the concepts are capable of 50% or even 60% reduction in fuel consumption. To take your example, that would mean 31,250kg battery mass versus 85100kg for 737-800 maximum take-off weight.

Consider that long-range jets like the 777 can be 50% fuel by mass. But you could increase that to 60 or even 75% (GlobalFlyer was able to achieve over 80%), combined with improvements in structural mass, perhaps even using the batteries as structural elements, would allow 1000km to definitely be possible with the battery tech I described. I had also done these calculations, I wasn't just making them up.

As I said, you have to be clever which you weren't bothering to do. :)
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Offline Lee Jay

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever.

I did the math here, with some assumptions.

For a vehicle like a 737, a 1000km flight will consume 7,500kg of fuel or the energy in a 62,500kg 400Wh/kg battery (with 100% conversion efficiency to shaft power).  Aerodynamic and propulsion efficiency isn't going to close that gap....
...except that's exactly what NASA aeronautics are proposing. Distributed propulsion and the blended wing concept, sucking the slowed boundary layer into the turbofans can make a huge difference. Some of the concepts are capable of 50% or even 60% reduction in fuel consumption. To take your example, that would mean 31,250kg battery mass versus 85100kg for 737-800 maximum take-off weight.

Consider that long-range jets like the 777 can be 50% fuel by mass. But you could increase that to 60 or even 75% (GlobalFlyer was able to achieve over 80%), combined with improvements in structural mass, perhaps even using the batteries as structural elements, would allow 1000km to definitely be possible with the battery tech I described. I had also done these calculations, I wasn't just making them up.

As I said, you have to be clever which you weren't bothering to do. :)

It's still 4 times the mass of the fuel it replaces, and that's way too much.  It means lower efficiency because you have to carry the batteries around.

Batteries aren't even ready for prime time for cars yet, much less airplanes.

BTW, this is coming from a power EE who has spent 30 year flying all-electric RC aircraft, so it's not like I'm opposed to the technology or something.

Offline Robotbeat

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever. With lithium-air batteries (which need a lot of process development to get to any kind of decent cycle life) using the newer designs, you could get range comparable to all current jet liners. And potentially supersonic electric flight.
Chris, do you have a projected turn-around time for re-charge on such a design?

~Rob

I strongly suppose that if a fully battery operated airplane enters commercial operation, it would need to come with a quick battery swap option to keep turnaround time low and thermal loads acceptable.
That is an option, but why?

Do you realize how much power you're talking about here?

Putting, say, 25MWh into a plane in, say, 30 minutes is going to take 50 MW of power.  That's more than comes into the entire airport, most likely.  Now multiply by, say, 40 planes on charge at once.  That's 2,000MW which is about half of the average power consumption in my entire control area.

And do you know what a cable carrying 50MW safely looks like?  It's going to have to be medium voltage.  Let's say it's 13.2kV three-phase.  That's 2,200A.  That's 4 3-conductor 500kcmil mining cables, each one 3 inches in diameter weighing 6 pounds and costing about $50 per foot.
No. You actively cool the cables, which allows you to carry a LOT more current in the same physical size. That's exactly what Tesla does for their newer Supercharging stations, so the ~300Amp cable they use is much smaller and lighter than you might suppose if you just look up the number in Handbook of Electronic Tables and Formulas or a website.

And remember that the hose for refueling jets can be ~5 inches in diameter.

Again, this is what is ALREADY done for electric cars. No doubt we'll be /more/ clever about this in the future, not less.
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Again, this is what is ALREADY done for electric cars. No doubt we'll be /more/ clever about this in the future, not less.

Batteries have to get about 5 fold better than they are in energy density and cost per kWh before they are ready for this type of thing.  Baring a breakthrough, that's a long way to go.

Offline Robotbeat

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Hybrids are neat and all, but full-electric is where it's at. Ultra-high-performance lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur can do 300-400Wh/kg, which should do 1000km with some of those advanced designs, if you're clever.

I did the math here, with some assumptions.

For a vehicle like a 737, a 1000km flight will consume 7,500kg of fuel or the energy in a 62,500kg 400Wh/kg battery (with 100% conversion efficiency to shaft power).  Aerodynamic and propulsion efficiency isn't going to close that gap....
...except that's exactly what NASA aeronautics are proposing. Distributed propulsion and the blended wing concept, sucking the slowed boundary layer into the turbofans can make a huge difference. Some of the concepts are capable of 50% or even 60% reduction in fuel consumption. To take your example, that would mean 31,250kg battery mass versus 85100kg for 737-800 maximum take-off weight.

Consider that long-range jets like the 777 can be 50% fuel by mass. But you could increase that to 60 or even 75% (GlobalFlyer was able to achieve over 80%), combined with improvements in structural mass, perhaps even using the batteries as structural elements, would allow 1000km to definitely be possible with the battery tech I described. I had also done these calculations, I wasn't just making them up.

As I said, you have to be clever which you weren't bothering to do. :)

It's still 4 times the mass of the fuel it replaces, and that's way too much.
No it's not.
Quote
It means lower efficiency because you have to carry the batteries around.
Yet you can access any source of electricity, which could be very cheap besides not polluting.

Quote
Batteries aren't even ready for prime time for cars yet, much less airplanes.
As a physicist who drives an electric car every day, I completely disagree. The battery technology is more than ready. It's the battery price that must come down for electric cars to be mass-market, and given the contract that GM has signed with LGChem (not to mention Tesla's Gigafactory), battery prices are well on their way to being cheap enough. But the batteries themselves are MORE than capable.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Again, this is what is ALREADY done for electric cars. No doubt we'll be /more/ clever about this in the future, not less.

Batteries have to get about 5 fold better than they are in energy density and cost per kWh before they are ready for this type of thing.  Baring a breakthrough, that's a long way to go.
To replace long-haul jets, perhaps. But NOT to replace short-haul. 400kWh/kg is enough for that (which we've already achieved in the lab), and initially even the 300Wh/kg we produce today would be interesting for some niches. And the prices are already low enough because you cycle the short-haul jets MANY times a day.

Now is the time to start designing these electric jets, because it takes a really long time for them to go from drawing board to first flight.

And 5 fold improvement is certainly possible using lithium-air batteries. I've seen some lithium-air batteries in person, it's not just a powerpoint idea. Conservatively speaking, we're probably a decade or two from achieving good cycle performance with lithium-air, but that's about how long it takes for a new jet to go from idea to service these days.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 01:08 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Lee Jay

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A $130,000 Tesla P90D couldn't even get me to visit my family, and it's only 2 hours away.  No Superchargers along the way, 290 mile round trip, can't charge there, often have to do it in bitter cold (i.e. -10°F) sometimes getting stuck on the highway for an hour waiting for a wreck to be cleared with the heat blasting.  Definitely not even close to ready for prime time.

My $25,000 Prius makes the round trip and takes me to and from work for a week with no problem.

I generally refuel when my range gets down to about 250 miles, holding that much in reserve.  And my kids are impatient about fueling even when it takes 3 minutes.  40 minutes is a total non-starter.

Don't forget, airplanes have to have a 30 minute flight reserve minimum, usually closer to 45 minutes.  I didn't add that in to my mass estimates.

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The shortest turnaround for a commercial aircraft is about 25 minutes on average for a Southwest 737. Their aim was 10 minutes. Others are about 30-45 minutes.
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A $130,000 Tesla P90D couldn't even get me to visit my family, and it's only 2 hours away.  No Superchargers along the way, 290 mile round trip, can't charge there,...
Your family doesn't have a 120V outlet? That I find hard to believe. Additionally, the fact there are not superchargers along the way is a temporary problem. And a larger battery could also be used except for the cost. 500 mile range could easily be done with existing batteries.

I don't know what your off-topic anecdote is supposed to mean except that you can find corner cases where electric cars have trouble (but again, no 120V outlet? I don't believe you). (But so would some gasoline cars if there were no gas stations.)
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 01:30 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Lar

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Let's not go TOO far down the rathole of whether batteries are ready for planes yet...
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A $130,000 Tesla P90D couldn't even get me to visit my family, and it's only 2 hours away.  No Superchargers along the way, 290 mile round trip, can't charge there,...
Your family doesn't have a 120V outlet?

Not outside and not out on the street where I park.  Besides, 4 miles per charge hour would barely make a dent.  Maybe I'd get 30-40 extra miles of range, which is far from enough.

Quote
That I find hard to believe. Additionally, the fact there are not superchargers along the way is a temporary problem. And a larger battery could also be used except for the cost. 500 mile range could easily be done with existing batteries.

I don't know what your off-topic anecdote is supposed to mean except that you can find corner cases where electric cars have trouble (but again, no 120V outlet? I don't believe you).

A supercharger station is not a useful thing anyway.  Too slow.  I can put 7 miles of range in my current car every second.  The effective charge rate is about 5MW - 40 times faster than the highest power supercharger.

I could give you dozens of other cases of places I've been where a P90D couldn't go without a tow back.

Offline Robotbeat

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A $130,000 Tesla P90D couldn't even get me to visit my family, and it's only 2 hours away.  No Superchargers along the way, 290 mile round trip, can't charge there,...
Your family doesn't have a 120V outlet?

Not outside and not out on the street where I park.  Besides, 4 miles per charge hour would barely make a dent.  Maybe I'd get 30-40 extra miles of range, which is far from enough.

Quote
That I find hard to believe. Additionally, the fact there are not superchargers along the way is a temporary problem. And a larger battery could also be used except for the cost. 500 mile range could easily be done with existing batteries.

I don't know what your off-topic anecdote is supposed to mean except that you can find corner cases where electric cars have trouble (but again, no 120V outlet? I don't believe you).

A supercharger station is not a useful thing anyway.  Too slow.  I can put 7 miles of range in my current car every second.  The effective charge rate is about 5MW - 40 times faster than the highest power supercharger.

I could give you dozens of other cases of places I've been where a P90D couldn't go without a tow back.
You also cannot drive a combustion engine vehicle indoors due to fumes. You are also completely at the mercy of fossil fuel infrastructure. While I enjoy this nice back and forth, this is off-topic.

Airplanes are hooked up to shore power already while at the gate. There's plenty of time for charging with a properly-engineered system.

I've answered basically all your objections pretty clearly. Yes, you CAN get 1000km range with cleverness, just as I originally said. No, the charging cable DOESN'T have to be 3 inches thick (which is smaller than the 5 inch diameter fueling hoses). Is it possible you are wrong about electric flight?
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 02:06 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Rocket Science

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Lots of surface area on an aircraft, they could use spayed on Photovoltaic Paint to help generate power continuously during the day...

http://www.nanoflexpower.com/automotive
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Offline Lar

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Again... vehicle battery range is off topic. Spraying solar cell paint on wings is off topic. Stick to the NASA related aspects here please. NASA announced they are pursuing QueSST  not the other alternatives.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Actually, that's not true. NASA is doing a bunch of X-Planes, the Quiet supersonic transport being just one of them. Many are electric propulsion (usually hybrid as the goal, but will still use batteries, and the early prototypes are all pure electric since that's a lot simpler).
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 03:18 AM by Robotbeat »
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Oh my, checked whois and NACASpaceFlight.com is available! Quick, hit the mod button and let Chris know!

Kinda bummed it wasn't something that had more near term potential. Like the blended body or the turbo electric hybrid fan. I wonder why they went for sizzle.

Because it's the most viable and far along as an idea & probably the easiest to translate to the commercial world. The others are kind of further out from this stage.

This article seems to have a bit more detail on this announcement & history.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/nasa-selects-lockheed-martin-to-design-supersonic-x-422539/
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 06:53 AM by Star One »

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Well not to stomp on the parade, and this would be Chris' call, but is seems to me this announcement is in the realm of aeronautics, not spaceflight.

(though personally I think it's well overdue to have another supersonic aircraft, and it's wickedly cool stuff)

Have you forgotten what the 'A' stands for in NASA. This is a personal bugbear for me.

Not at all. I have also been following this thread. I also follow the yearly budgets and appropriations that define the aeronautics portion of NASA's budget.

However, people also seem to forget the name of this site: NASASpaceflight. This is about all things related to space. Certain relates topics have been challenged before, such as unmanned spaceflight & science, as there are

A useful skill that I have developed over time is that if it doesn't interest me, I ignore it. Saves much more time than complaining.

Offline Lar

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Actually, that's not true. NASA is doing a bunch of X-Planes, the Quiet supersonic transport being just one of them. Many are electric propulsion (usually hybrid as the goal, but will still use batteries, and the early prototypes are all pure electric since that's a lot simpler).

OK but long anecdotes about Tesla and Toyota vehicles are clearly off topic. You know I hate to delete things. Humor me by staying on topic, k?
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It would be easier to acknowledge that this news contains no spaceflight related topic to stay on.  :)
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Offline Lar

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If people keep arguing with me, I guess I'll change my mind and stump that it be closed instead of that it stay open.

Take Blackstar's advice and let it go. Arguing with moderators is boring and tiresome. Even if you're right and they are wrong.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 10:38 AM by Lar »
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Offline R7

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I'm not arguing, just pointing the obvious. Anyhow, what is on topic now in this thread? Is it the announced quiet boom X plane only or other concepts illustrated in FP?

IMHO the quiet boom choice was strange when they seemed to emphasize greener stuff. Boom or no boom supersonic flight causes a lot worse passenger miles per gallon figures than conventional speeds. Or passenger miles per kWhr too if one dreams of electric flight. I fail to see how trying to enable very expensive overland supersonic trips for a few HNWIs is greener act. Concorde was economic flop despite heavy subsidies and investment write-offs by France and UK.

Could this enable supersonic Roc overland launches? Maybe. But I think Vulcan Aerospace will soon fold even as is.

Shove the HNWIs into near vacuum metal tube to travel quickly from coast to coast.  ;)
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Offline Star One

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I'm not arguing, just pointing the obvious. Anyhow, what is on topic now in this thread? Is it the announced quiet boom X plane only or other concepts illustrated in FP?

IMHO the quiet boom choice was strange when they seemed to emphasize greener stuff. Boom or no boom supersonic flight causes a lot worse passenger miles per gallon figures than conventional speeds. Or passenger miles per kWhr too if one dreams of electric flight. I fail to see how trying to enable very expensive overland supersonic trips for a few HNWIs is greener act. Concorde was economic flop despite heavy subsidies and investment write-offs by France and UK.

Could this enable supersonic Roc overland launches? Maybe. But I think Vulcan Aerospace will soon fold even as is.

Shove the HNWIs into near vacuum metal tube to travel quickly from coast to coast.  ;)

SST has always been the next logical step in air transport for the civil aviation industry, it is purely the issue of the noise overland that has held it back. I imagine this will be particularly attractive to the biz jet sector where already a conventional SST is being developed.

Anyway this is just the first amongst a number of concepts that are likely to reach reality from this NASA programme.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 12:20 PM by Star One »

Offline Lar

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I'm not arguing, just pointing the obvious. Anyhow, what is on topic now in this thread? Is it the announced quiet boom X plane only or other concepts illustrated in FP?

You're arguing :)  How do I know? Because I said so... :) :)

Specific things that the NASA press release, or speakers at the announcement, spoke about are on topic. General aviation stuff is not. Battery tech is not. Electric vehicle range is not. Charge points for electric vehicles are not. Telling other people they don't understand the topic is not (and violates be excellent too).

I trust you all to do your best here. I'm probably gonna trim out all this meta after a few posts that are on topic again because who wants to read it later? Not me...  Straighten up and fly right.
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 12:15 PM by Lar »
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Offline kevin-rf

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Can I just point out only one of the two electric planes uses batteries.

The Hybrid is directly powering the tail fan from generators on two lower bypass ratio turbo fans. The latest studies show the plane will have the same mass as an equivalent high bypass turbo fan model. It is not charging and lugging around extra battery mass. The extra mass of the tail fan, structure, and electronics is offset by the smaller and lighter turbo fan engines (which have the same output power and the large diameter fans).

The dirty secret of high bypass ratio turbo fans, while they have better fuel burn, they also weigh more than low bypass turbo fans. Works out great on long haul, but you do not gain as much on short haul. Case in point, the 787 has a ~20% burn advantage over the 767. In reality, depending on the routes flown airlines have reported between 18% (LAN, mostly shorter haul) and 24% (ANA, much longer haul).

As for the pure electric, several patents from both Airbus and Boeing have floated over the years for quick change battery packs. It is a solvable problem.

NASA selected between a Prius, Nissan Leaf, UHaul, and a Lamborghini. They went the mid-life crisis route ;)

I for one am now looking forward to our new Son of Concord Over Lord.
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Offline muomega0

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Specific things that the NASA press release, or speakers at the announcement, spoke about are on topic. General aviation stuff is not. Battery tech is not.  Straighten up and fly right.
Battery technology as it relates to space should be on topic...or if space battery tech spinoffs too.  Yes space could use a 500 whr/kg battery at the 'system' , not component, level too and its a good spinoff either way.  Is this not a major reason for space, spinoffs?

The other factor is if the airplane is used as the first stage of a rocket to orbit (e.g. the 747 assist).  How about an airplane used to fly around Mars?

Speaking of electric airplanes, check out the short video on the Boeing SugarVolt, which was an earlier study supporting this announcement.  "Electric Airplanes" everyone laughed, yet 5 or so years later, a hybrid concept that helps reduces fuel emerges, simply by thinking out of the box.  Some of the best engineers at Boeing have worked both As in NASA.

Any common hardware elements/techonology from the lower fuel burn airplanes to 'space' should be on topic, especially if folks want NASA to return to a NACA role since 'everything else' is done better in private companies.

Offline kevin-rf

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Any common hardware elements/techonology from the lower fuel burn airplanes to 'space' should be on topic, especially if folks want NASA to return to a NACA role since 'everything else' is done better in private companies.
I don't know, quite spike with all the new tech they are adding is reminding me of the X-33. I hope it doesn't go the same way. This airframe is more than just the airframe. Thrust vectoring, enhanced vision, ect...

Also, industry has been doing pretty good with fuel burn improvements on commercial airliners. The 787 has a 20% block burn advantage over the 767 it replaced, Same with the a350, Pratt's new geared turbo fan seems to be a game changer (If you are willing to wait for it to start), You are starting to see 3D printed parts in jet engines, The laminar flow tail Boeing added to the 787-9, ect. I think planes like MOM and NSA that we should see in the near future where incorporate many of these improvements. 
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 02:08 PM by kevin-rf »
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Offline muomega0

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Any common hardware elements/techonology from the lower fuel burn airplanes to 'space' should be on topic, especially if folks want NASA to return to a NACA role since 'everything else' is done better in private companies.
I don't know, quite spike with all the new tech they are adding is reminding me of the X-33. I hope it doesn't go the same way. This airframe is more than just the airframe. Thrust vectoring, enhanced vision, ect...

Also, industry has been doing pretty good with fuel burn improvements on commercial airliners. The 787 has a 20% block burn advantage over the 767 it replaced, Same with the a350, Pratt's new geared turbo fan seems to be a game changer (If you are willing to wait for it to start), You are starting to see 3D printed parts in jet engines, The laminar flow tail Boeing added to the 787-9, ect. I think planes like MOM and NSA that we should see in the near future where incorporate many of these improvements.
Note sure i follow...laminar flow, geared turbofan would not be space topics, right?  unless it applies to Mars aircaft?   Perhaps if one flies an LNG aircraft on Mars it would a space topic--many common technologies.   The geared turbofan cannot reach the 70% fuel burn reduction goal BTW, the gearbox has to become electrical.  At less than 4% of NASA's budget...there will not be many topics anyway.  Okay, back to err...wow too many party threads....which are not off topic....go figure ???
« Last Edit: 03/01/2016 02:50 PM by muomega0 »

Online RonM

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Spaceflight is part of the aerospace industry. Does discussing non-spaceflight aspects of NASA qualify as a hobby? Maybe it should be moved to the Spaceflight Entertainment and Hobbies section. Eh, maybe not, it's just a thought.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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An air-breathing SSTO, please! I'm sure that technology has reached the point where that is practical, even if it is a sort of a 'stage and a half' with separate turbo/ramjets as a first stage and rockets for final ascent.
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Those of you in the Cape Canaveral area may be interested to know that the DARPA "Shaped Sonic Boom Experiment" aircraft (a modified F-5E) is outside the Warbird Museum at TiCo Airport. Here is a photo I took of it around Christmas...

Offline Blackstar

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SST has always been the next logical step in air transport for the civil aviation industry, it is purely the issue of the noise overland that has held it back. I imagine this will be particularly attractive to the biz jet sector where already a conventional SST is being developed.

I think your first statement is not accurate, but your last one is.

"The next logical step" is really the wrong way to think of civil aviation. There is a constant and longstanding interest in both higher fuel economy and quieting. That's persistent and it is not going to go away, and one could argue that it should be NASA's primary focus (although I'm not going to make that argument without caveats). One could also argue that the "next logical step" is really increased automation. If we're going to have driverless cars on our roads in large numbers in 10-20 years (and who here thinks that that is not going to happen?), then why do we need pilots in the cockpit? Arguably, NASA could be putting emphasis on that too.

Where quiet boom is likely to have an effect is in bizjets, where the cost is not nearly as important as it is for commercial passenger aviation.

Offline QuantumG

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If we're going to have driverless cars on our roads in large numbers in 10-20 years (and who here thinks that that is not going to happen?)

Me. Instead of autopilot you'll get driver assistance and crash avoidance. Technology advances rarely in the direction of visionaries (especially uninvolved visionaries). We still have train drivers, a job that was automated in the 60's.

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Offline Rocket Science

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It would be easier to acknowledge that this news contains no spaceflight related topic to stay on.  :)
At least it's got the "spacey-looking" NASA meatball... ;D
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Offline Blackstar

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IMHO the quiet boom choice was strange when they seemed to emphasize greener stuff. Boom or no boom supersonic flight causes a lot worse passenger miles per gallon figures than conventional speeds. Or passenger miles per kWhr too if one dreams of electric flight. I fail to see how trying to enable very expensive overland supersonic trips for a few HNWIs is greener act. Concorde was economic flop despite heavy subsidies and investment write-offs by France and UK.


I think those are all legitimate points (indeed, I have heard them made by a very smart top aeronautical scientist who works for one of those companies that puts engines on big jets).

And a legitimate related point is why did NASA choose this particular technology to advance at this time? Well, I don't know the specifics of the decision, but I am familiar with some of the background. Several years ago an independent study recommended that NASA start conducting more flight research (meaning actually flying aircraft).

http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13384/recapturing-nasas-aeronautics-flight-research-capabilities

Look at the findings and recommendations in the summary there. The options included environmentally responsive aviation, low boom supersonics, and hypersonics. Hypersonics is a bugaboo, with other issues. I think that low boom supersonics is something for which there is clear industry interest, although it is a niche. There's interest in ERA as well, so it would not surprise me to see NASA implement a flight research project in that area soon too. And autonomy has really become a big deal in the past few years, so maybe NASA will do some flight research in that area.

Offline Robotbeat

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I work at one of the aeronautics centers, (but not in an aeronautics area) and, before this announcement, I definitely got the feeling that NASA had been studying these cool concepts for decades but really no progress had been made because no one was actually BUILDING them.

In fact, I literally mentioned to the aeronautics people (something I can get away with as I still look like an intern) that someone needs to actually BUILD this boomless supersonic jet, this blended wing body craft, or really any of the more exotic green aviation concepts that we've been passing around for decades (or if we don't make any progress on them, then stop spending money just studying them!).

So the announcement of this series of X-planes (of which the Quiet SST is just one) couldn't please me more.

...but this isn't just about the QuietSST.
And I'd like to point out that ALL the scale prototypes for the hybrid propulsion projects use batteries.

I'm sick of decades of stagnation in aerospace (the only advances being structural carbon fiber, higher bypass ratios, wingtips, but nothing exotic or game-changing), and I couldn't be happier that NASA is finally bringing X-planes back.
« Last Edit: 03/02/2016 01:26 AM by Robotbeat »
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Offline Blackstar

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I'm sick of decades of stagnation in aerospace (the only advances being structural carbon fiber, higher bypass ratios, wingtips, but nothing exotic or game-changing)

"Decades of stagnation"?

Well, if you don't count the pretty impressive improvements in fuel efficiency, or materials, or reduction in mean time between failures, or UAVs...

And NASA was behind a lot of that.

There has not been stagnation. There have been a lot of important developments, and NASA has been responsible. That doesn't mean that everything is great (read the report that I linked above), but it's a myth that aviation has not improved much in a long time. If you simply compare the fuel economy and the noise of a 787 to the 737 (or more dramatically, the 707), you'd be amazed.

Offline kevin-rf

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Don't forget safety. NASA has been at the forefront of it. Today's CRM grew out of industry work with NASA. In the US we have gone from a few fatal commercial crashes a year to close to none. The last three where in 2013, then you have look back to 2009. Since 9/11 there have only been 9 fatal US crashes. Contrast that with 1985.
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It's normal that progress in a more mature technology field looks like it's slower than in nascent areas.
That's partly because all the low-hanging-fruit developments have already been done and partly simply because compared to an impressive status quo even fundamental breakthroughs don't look as dramatic.

That doesn't mean nothing is happen ending or being achieved, actually typically quite the opposite is true.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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IMHO the quiet boom choice was strange when they seemed to emphasize greener stuff. Boom or no boom supersonic flight causes a lot worse passenger miles per gallon figures than conventional speeds. Or passenger miles per kWhr too if one dreams of electric flight. I fail to see how trying to enable very expensive overland supersonic trips for a few HNWIs is greener act. Concorde was economic flop despite heavy subsidies and investment write-offs by France and UK.


I think those are all legitimate points (indeed, I have heard them made by a very smart top aeronautical scientist who works for one of those companies that puts engines on big jets).

And a legitimate related point is why did NASA choose this particular technology to advance at this time? Well, I don't know the specifics of the decision, but I am familiar with some of the background. Several years ago an independent study recommended that NASA start conducting more flight research (meaning actually flying aircraft).

http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13384/recapturing-nasas-aeronautics-flight-research-capabilities

Look at the findings and recommendations in the summary there. The options included environmentally responsive aviation, low boom supersonics, and hypersonics. Hypersonics is a bugaboo, with other issues. I think that low boom supersonics is something for which there is clear industry interest, although it is a niche. <snip>
Has anyone studied the potential sales of low-boom SST airline tickets?  Trans-oceanic international flight can be onerous, particularly trans-Pacific.  (No personal experience here, but summarizing some comments that I've heard from frequent-fliers.)

If the restrictions on supersonic land over flight are eased or removed due to low sonic boom, I could envision a (large?) niche market for international frequent fliers--people who might be willing to pay more (2x?) for faster transit.  Time is $$$.

That market is definitely larger, and going more places, than it was in the 70s.

Just a thought.
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Online RonM

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Quieting sonic booms allowing overland travel would open up a large transcontinental business. Flights between the US east and west coasts are about five hours. Cutting that down would be useful for business.

Offline Bubbinski

I could also see military applications for quiet sonic booms.  A supersonic bomber or tanker/transport flying over "denied territory", on a strike mission or troop deployment for example.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Blackstar

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I could also see military applications for quiet sonic booms.  A supersonic bomber or tanker/transport flying over "denied territory", on a strike mission or troop deployment for example.

But it would still likely have a big radar signature.

Offline kevin-rf

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But it would still likely have a big radar signature.
Speed is the new stealth ;) Get in and out before the other side can shoot you down...

Also, who says the shape isn't stealth compatible.
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Offline Blackstar

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I did not watch the Monday press conference/announcement, but did they say anything about initiating future flight projects? Are they perhaps thinking about starting a new one each year for the next several years?

Offline kevin-rf

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I did not watch the Monday press conference/announcement, but did they say anything about initiating future flight projects? Are they perhaps thinking about starting a new one each year for the next several years?

Funny you should mention that, aviation week just had an interesting article about Lockheed's counter to the Blended Wing Body aircraft. Looks like an X competition in the 2020 time frame between Boeing's Blended Wing and Lockheed's Hybrid Wing Body.

You have to register with Av Week to read it, but it is not behind the paywall...
http://aviationweek.com/defense/next-lockheed-low-speed-hwb-airlifter-flight?NL=AW-05&Issue=AW-05_20160310_AW-05_389&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2&utm_rid=CPEN1000001746081&utm_campaign=5247&utm_medium=email&elq2=034e6511888f40a2b32ce2f9176c3f36

Here is the interesting quote at the end of the article as it relates to X planes:
Quote
Lockheed is pursuing the HWB concept with funding support from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) under its Revolutionary Configurations for Energy Efficiency program, which ends in 2017. The company will complete a study for AFRL of a manned HWB demonstrator this fall, he says. A commercialization study for NASA, looking at a freighter variant, will finish around the same time.

NASA has unveiled budget plans to fly a 50%-scale hybrid wing body demonstrator after 2020 as the second in a proposed series of large-scale X-planes. To date, the agency’s definition of HWB has been synonymous with Boeing’s Blended Wing Body configuration, but Lockheed plans to propose its HWB concept, and NASA says selection of the X-plane will be an open competition. “We do qualify to play in the HWB plans, and are working with NASA to make sure that we do,” says Hooker.

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Offline Zed_Noir

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I could also see military applications for quiet sonic booms.  A supersonic bomber or tanker/transport flying over "denied territory", on a strike mission or troop deployment for example.

But it would still likely have a big radar signature.

Yeah. So you are going to lit up the ground surveillance and target acquisition radars like beacons for the Anti-Radiation missiles of the strike package to home in on. Will be interesting.

However quiet supersonic strike aircraft will be useful to take out targets without radar capability. Since the target will have little or no warnings from picket observers listing for noise from approaching aircrafts.



Offline kevin-rf

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I could also see military applications for quiet sonic booms.  A supersonic bomber or tanker/transport flying over "denied territory", on a strike mission or troop deployment for example.

But it would still likely have a big radar signature.

Yeah. So you are going to lit up the ground surveillance and target acquisition radars like beacons for the Anti-Radiation missiles of the strike package to home in on. Will be interesting.

However quiet supersonic strike aircraft will be useful to take out targets without radar capability. Since the target will have little or no warnings from picket observers listing for noise from approaching aircrafts.
I will ask my question again, what says that the shape is not stealth compatible?

Part of the issue of networked ground defense systems is they talk to each other. Stealth doesn't mean you are invisible to radar, just you can get closer to the radar before detection. The goal is to get in and out before the other side has time to react. Stealth reduces the reaction time. That's why there is interest in other detection methods, visual, IR, sound. A quite supersonic stealth aircraft fits this bill. A sonic boom is a very sharp sound event that is easy to pull out of the background. Networked gun shot locator systems exist today to pin point the origin of gunshot noise. Police departments across the US are using them. Nothing keeps them from being integrated with an air defense queuing system allowing earlier detection and a longer reaction time. Stealth can be defeated if you know where to look.

I wonder if a non civilian reason to want to get around the sonic boom is to "help" stealth. While the F-22 and F-35 are stealthy, they are not quite and leave quite a boom... If they can track the boom, stealth vehicles are limited to subsonic speeds, giving the adversary a longer reaction time. But I digress, quite boom really sounds like a dual use technology.
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Offline kevin-rf

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Not the selected concept, but an article on aditional research NASA is doing with Boeing on truss braced wings (Bi-Planes!!!) for improved fuel economy.

http://aviationweek.com/space/truss-braced-wings-may-find-place-transonic-aircraft
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Offline Star One

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Skunk Works Refines Quiet Supersonic Design

Aviation Week & Space Technology
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is beginning a fast-paced year of preliminary design work on a low-boom demonstrator for NASA that the agency is increasingly optimistic will pave the way for environmentally acceptable supersonic business jets and airliners. The single-engine Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft is designed to test whether the shockwave signature of potential future Mach 1-plus vehicles would be acceptable to the public, clearing the way for supersonic flight ...

http://aviationweek.com/technology/skunk-works-refines-quiet-supersonic-design
« Last Edit: 06/14/2016 07:47 PM by Star One »

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Offline Archibald

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What an ugly duck - I suppose this is the price to pay for no sonic boom. Forward pilot vision won't be good - although cameras may help. Or a submarine periscope. Oh, and when ejecting, beware not to be sucked into the air intake (like the vilain in Die Hard 2  )
And how many control surface that thing has ? canards, a tail, and a small tail ontop of the fin ?!
« Last Edit: 06/15/2016 09:40 AM by Archibald »

Offline Star One

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It explains in the article that the pilot may have to use something like an adapted F-35 helmet and also why it has so many control surfaces.

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There are a number of different aspects to this project which I'd summarize as:

-technical feasibility
-regulation (how much noise is allowed)
-commercial interest and feasibility

NASA is tackling aspects of the first two, but they're complex. For instance, if they can prove the concept on this test vehicle, can that be scaled up to a larger vehicle that can carry passengers? And the regulation is a multi-pronged issue too, because the noise will vary based upon altitude, humidity, other atmospheric issues. I heard a NASA guy explain how he had been on the ground during a supersonic flyover by a military jet and never heard a sonic boom at all because the atmosphere had mitigated it. So there's a lot of factors that go into how the noise is detected and even defined.


Offline Robotbeat

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There are a number of different aspects to this project which I'd summarize as:

-technical feasibility
-regulation (how much noise is allowed)
-commercial interest and feasibility

NASA is tackling aspects of the first two, but they're complex. For instance, if they can prove the concept on this test vehicle, can that be scaled up to a larger vehicle that can carry passengers? And the regulation is a multi-pronged issue too, because the noise will vary based upon altitude, humidity, other atmospheric issues. I heard a NASA guy explain how he had been on the ground during a supersonic flyover by a military jet and never heard a sonic boom at all because the atmosphere had mitigated it. So there's a lot of factors that go into how the noise is detected and even defined.
Right. I think this is why they went with an actual piloted vehicle instead of a more subscale robotic one.

A crewed vehicle makes this a lot more /real/ to commercial interest and investors. It's also a camel nose under the tent of regulators, as you can start doing real cross-country demo flights.
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Offline kevin-rf

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Right. I think this is why they went with an actual piloted vehicle instead of a more subscale robotic one.

A crewed vehicle makes this a lot more /real/ to commercial interest and investors. It's also a camel nose under the tent of regulators, as you can start doing real cross-country demo flights.

They have already done subscale camel noses on the F-5 and F-15. Time to go larger.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Right. I think this is why they went with an actual piloted vehicle instead of a more subscale robotic one.

A crewed vehicle makes this a lot more /real/ to commercial interest and investors. It's also a camel nose under the tent of regulators, as you can start doing real cross-country demo flights.

They have already done subscale camel noses on the F-5 and F-15. Time to go larger.
That's right. This is a full vehicle capable of shaping the whole boom, not just half of it.
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Offline kevin-rf

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So one of the other designs that didn't get selected has just been given the X-57 designation.

http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-hybrid-electric-research-plane-gets-x-number-new-name

NASA Hybrid Electric Research Plane Gets X Number, New Name
With 14 electric motors turning propellers and all of them integrated into a uniquely-designed wing, NASA will test new propulsion technology using an experimental airplane now designated the X-57 and nicknamed “Maxwell.”

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden highlighted the agency’s first X-plane designation in a decade during his keynote speech Friday in Washington at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) annual Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition, commonly called Aviation 2016.

“With the return of piloted X-planes to NASA’s research capabilities – which is a key part of our 10-year-long New Aviation Horizons initiative – the general aviation-sized X-57 will take the first step in opening a new era of aviation,” Bolden said.

As many as five larger transport-scale X-planes also are planned as part of the initiative. Its goals – like the X-57 – include demonstrating advanced technologies to reduce fuel use, emissions and noise, and thus accelerate their introduction to the marketplace.

The X-57 number designation was assigned by the U.S. Air Force, which manages the history-making process, following a request from NASA. The first X-plane was the X-1, which in 1947 became the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound.

“Dozens of X-planes of all shapes, sizes and purposes have since followed – all of them contributing to our stature as the world’s leader in aviation and space technology,” said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. “Planes like the X-57, and the others to come, will help us maintain that role.”

Its original wing and two gas-fueled piston engines will be replaced with a long, skinny wing embedded with 14 electric motors – 12 on the leading edge for take offs and landings, and one larger motor on each wing tip for use while at cruise altitude.

NASA’s aeronautical innovators hope to validate the idea that distributing electric power across a number of motors integrated with an aircraft in this way will result in a five-time reduction in the energy required for a private plane to cruise at 175 mph.

Several other benefits would result as well. “Maxwell” will be powered only by batteries, eliminating carbon emissions and demonstrating how demand would shrink for lead-based aviation fuel still in use by general aviation.

Energy efficiency at cruise altitude using X-57 technology could benefit travelers by reducing flight times, fuel usage, as well as reducing overall operational costs for small aircraft by as much as 40 percent. Typically, to get the best fuel efficiency an airplane has to fly slower than it is able. Electric propulsion essentially eliminates the penalty for cruising at higher speeds.

Finally, as most drivers of hybrid electric cars know, electric motors are more quiet than conventional piston engines. The X-57’s electric propulsion technology is expected to significantly decrease aircraft noise, making it less annoying to the public.

The X-57 research started as part of the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate's Transformative Aeronautics Program's Convergent Aeronautics Solutions project, with the flight demonstrations being performed as part of the Flight Demonstration Concepts project in the Integrated Aviation Systems Program.

For more information about NASA's electric propulsion research, go to:

http://go.nasa.gov/1S55SPP

-end-
I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

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NASA Aims For Supersonic Airliners As Quiet As Subsonic

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After minimizing sonic boom, reducing airport noise is seen as the next biggest barrier to commercially viable future supersonic transports. As it works toward flying an X-plane in 2019 to demonstrate low-boom design technology, NASA is conducting ground tests of an engine nozzle that could make a small supersonic airliner as quiet as current subsonic transports.

The model tests underway at NASA’s Glenn Research Center will validate design tools and concepts for an integrated propulsion system that would enable a quiet supersonic airliner with the seating capacity of a regional jet to have a cumulative noise level 10 EPNdB below current Chapter 4 limits.

http://m.aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/nasa-aims-supersonic-airliners-quiet-subsonic

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Aurora D8: Nasa spending $2.9m to revitalise 'double bubble' subsonic twin-hull planes by 2027

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Nasa has decided to invest $2.9m (Ł2.19m) in order to realise an innovative plane concept invented by MIT and Aurora Flight Sciences in 2008 which could make subsonic planes much more efficient than they are today.

The Aurora D8, which flies at a speed of Mach 0.764 (582 mph, 936 km/h), was originally developed by Aurora Flight Sciences and MIT as part of Nasa's N+3 Program, which provided funding of technologies for new aircraft that would be substantially more efficient to aeroplanes today, that would be put into service in the 2030s.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/aurora-d8-nasa-spending-2-9m-revitalise-double-bubble-subsonic-twin-hull-planes-by-2027-1581718

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Lockheed Martin HWB-X hybrid wing-body demonstrator.

https://twitter.com/TheWoracle/status/819211718576443395

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