NASA Seeks Research Proposals For Green Aircraft

June 3, 2010

The aim is to identify vehicle concepts and enabling technologies to create commercial airlines that use less fuel and produce fewer greenhouse gases and noise.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- NASA is soliciting proposals for studies designed to identify advanced vehicle concepts and enabling technologies for commercial airliners to fly more economically, quieter and cleaner by 2025.

This research will support the Integrated Systems Research Program in NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington. The solicitation is the first of several expected under the directorate's "Research Opportunities in Aeronautics" announcement for 2010, released on Wednesday.

The total potential value of the research contracts is $36.6 million, and proposals are due by July 15.

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

The concepts must incorporate technologies enabling large, twin-aisle passenger aircraft to achieve ambitious environmental goals. Goals include 50% less fuel consumption and nitrogen oxide emissions compared with today's airliners and an approximately 80% reduction in the nuisance noise footprint around airports.

After nine months work on preferred systems' concepts, each team will be eligible to submit proposals for a subscale flight demonstrator design. NASA will select one or two concepts for 17 months of preliminary design work and risk reduction testing for completion by mid-2013.

This research is supported by the Environmentally Responsible Aviation Project within the Integrated Systems Research Program. It also will benefit an emerging new project related to the use of remotely-piloted aircraft in the national air space.

Because the subscale flight demonstrator will be capable of operating in autonomous and remotely-piloted modes, it will test environmental technology, other suites and techniques. Test areas may include separation assurance and collision avoidance; command, control and communications; remote pilot and vehicle interfaces; environmental hazards detection and avoidance that could enable routine operation of future unpiloted air vehicles. NASA anticipates conducting test flights with the demonstrator in 2015.

Specific evaluation criteria, deadlines and points of contact for this research topic and other project areas are available in the announcement.

NASA anticipates amending this announcement to add research topics in other project areas. For more information visit NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate Web site.

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