EDWARDS AFB, Calif., 22 Nov. 2010. Researchers at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., are asking engineers at the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector in El Segundo, Calif., to develop advanced aircraft avionics, propulsion, and airframe technologies to improve fuel efficiencies, reduce noise levels, and reduce harmful emissions.
NASA Dryden awarded Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems a $2.6 million contract late last week 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. NASA Dryden also awarded a $3 million contract to Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, Calif., for research on the same project.
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 Northrop Grumman 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 Northrop Grumman 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, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems at www.as.northropgrumman.com, or e-mail the ERA Project office at [email protected].