NextGen Aircraft Design is Key to Aviation Sustainability


For NASA’s aeronautical innovators, when it comes to designing the next generation of passenger-carrying airplanes, you can think of it as being about four E’s: Environment, efficiency, electrification, and economy.

Like a set of Russian matryoshka nesting dolls, they fit within each other to provide a whole idea, one that especially resonates with what Earth Day is all about – working toward a cleaner environment at a time of global concern over climate change. “Conceptually, it’s really quite simple,” said Robert Pearce, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics.

“In order to lessen our impact on the environment we must increase aircraft efficiency in every way we can, integrate electrification to aid or replace current propulsion methods, and do it all in a way to benefit the economy,” Pearce said.

To be clear, we’re not talking here about coming up with a future airliner that flies faster than sound, or a smaller personal air taxi or package delivery aircraft of the type that will be part of Advanced Air Mobility. NASA already has resources dedicated to that.

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