NASA researchers have collaborated with industry to research, develop and demonstrate eight technology platforms designed to reduce aviation’s environmental impact through a six-year project.
The space agency said Tuesday it launched the Environmentally Responsible Aviation project in 2009 to develop new platforms that focus on vehicle systems integration, propulsion and airframe technologies.
ERA researchers at NASA teamed up with General Electric to improve the turbine engine’s aerodynamic efficiency through enhancements to the compressor stage’s design.
Pratt & Whitney also collaborated with NASA on the development of a jet engine combustor design in an effort to achieve a 75 percent reduction in aviation-related pollution.
Another project in which NASA worked with FlexSys and the Air Force Research Laboratory focused on the development of a morphing wing system designed to extend an aircraft’s flaps, minimize drag and reduce noise impacts.
“If these technologies start finding their way into the airline fleet, our computer models show the economic impact could amount to $255 billion in operational savings between 2025 and 2050,” said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for aeronautics research at NASA.