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NASA selects companies for advanced aircraft concepts study

NASA has awarded two contracts for studies designed to identify advanced concepts for airliners that could enter service in 2025 and fly with less noise, cleaner exhaust and lower fuel consumption.

A team led by Lockheed Martin of Palmdale, Calif., was selected for a contract worth $2.99 million. A team led by Northrop Grumman of El Segundo, Calif., was selected for a contract worth $2.65 million. Both contracts have a performance period of 12 months, beginning in November.

A key objective of the research is to ensure technological elements proposed for meeting NASA's noise, emissions and fuel burn reduction goals can be integrated on a single aircraft that could operate safely within a modernized air traffic management system.

The teams will define a preferred system concept for an aircraft that can fly up to 85 percent of the speed of sound; cover a range of approximately 7,000 miles; and carry between 50,000 and 100,000 pounds of payload, either passengers or cargo.

NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation Project is sponsoring the study. The project is part of the Integrated Systems Research Program managed by the agency's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington.

The project is working to develop technology that would enable future aircraft to burn 50 percent less fuel than current models; reduce harmful emissions by 50 percent; and shrink the geographic areas affected by objectionable airport noise by 83 percent.

Press release issued by NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center on November 22, 2010


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