EDWARDS AFB, Calif., 21 Nov. 2010. Researchers at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., are joining hands with aeronautical experts at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, Calif., to find breakthrough aircraft avionics, propulsion, and airframe technologies to improve aircraft fuel efficiencies, reduce aircraft noise, and reduce aircraft emissions.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Dryden Flight Research Center awarded Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs (ADP) segment -- better known as the Skunk Works -- a $3 million contract Friday for the Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project to explore the benefits and risks new aircraft technologies to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.
The ERA Project seeks to identify advanced integrated vehicle and component technology concepts to enable subsonic transport aircraft to meet the NASA subsonic transport system level goals of reduced noise, emissions, and fuel burn by 2025 or beyond.
The nation's air transportation system will expand by a factor of two or three within the next two decades, potentially increasing aviation's contribution to climate change. The ERA Project works to reduce the environmental harm that could result from such an expansion, NASA officials say.
NASA researchers say they expect these advanced vehicle concepts to be developed at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works to operate efficiently within the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's NextGen airspace system. Results of ERA Project will complement government programs such as the FAA's CLEEN program, the NASA Subsonic Fixed Wing (SFW) Project, and several U.S. Department of Defense programs.
The NASA ERA Project with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works will concentrate on testing unconventional aircraft designs with high lift to drag ratios, reduced drag, and reduced noise around airports; reducing through laminar flow; developing composite structures to reduce weight and improve fuel burn; and test advanced, fuel-flexible combustor technologies that can reduce engine nitrogen oxide emissions.
For more information contact NASA Dryden Research Center online at www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works at www.skunkworks.net, or e-mail the ERA Project office at [email protected].