Washington, Jan 18 (EFE).- US aircraft manufacturer Boeing will be tasked with building the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator, an aircraft being developed with NASA in the hope that its design and technology will serve as a model for future aviation.
With the Demonstrator, NASA hopes to reduce by up to 30 percent the consumption of fuel and emissions from narrow-bodied jets – those with only one passenger aisle – which are often assigned to cover national routes and which are the most widely used aircraft in the passenger aviation sector.
“We all think of NASA as a space agency, as an aviation agency, (but) it’s also a climate agency,” said NASA director Bill Nelson at a Wednesday press conference.
Nelson said that the Boeing concept, which is expected to fly in 2028, is a full-scale Transonic Truss-Braced Wing demonstrator aircraft with extra-long, thin wings stabilized by diagonal struts.
The novel design is much more fuel efficient than a traditional passenger jet because it is more aerodynamic – that is, it creates less air drag – and this results in less fuel usage.
In a statement, Boeing said that it will incorporate elements from already extant aircraft with completely new components in building the new jet.
Boeing’s technology chief, Todd Citron, said that the ultra-thin wings will make the jet more fuel efficient.
NASA also hopes that this design will incorporate a series of technological advances that will mean less fuel usage, thus making the aviation industry more sustainable, and will serve as a model for commercial aviation in the 2030s and beyond.
Nelson said that the project will revolutionize the type of aircraft that people use most frequently when they fly and will put the US closer to achieving the government’s zero-emissions goal for the industry by 2050.
The NASA chief also defended the decision to establish a public-private relationship to develop the Demonstrator in which the aerospace agency will invest some $425 million over seven years while Boeing and its partners will contribute another $725 million.
Nelson cited NASA projects to transform the International Space Station into a commercial station and returning humans to the Moon, in which it is collaborating with SpaceX, as examples of cooperation with the private sector that benefit the entire aerospace industry.