Author Topic: NASA Administrator to Make X-Plane Announcement at Reagan National Media Event  (Read 60114 times)

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?
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline R7

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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 »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

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 »
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

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.

Online 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.

Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

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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