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Proposed NASA budget could lead to a number of new X-Planes

Flyaway

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Looks like the quiet boom demonstrator is going to get funded.

Another winner in the proposed budget is the agency’s aeronautics division. The request offers $790 million for aeronautics, $150 million above what it received in 2016. The request is part of a 10-year, $10.6 billion plan that includes the development of several experimental “X-planes” to demonstrate new fuel-efficient technologies and supersonic flight that minimizes sonic booms.

“It’s largely due to the alignment of our strategy with the administration’s priorities,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA associate administrator for aeronautics, referring to the division’s strategic plan completed in 2013. “All those efforts are the basis for this increased budget request.”

The requested increase, though, was still a pleasant surprise. Shin said he heard about the proposed increase in an email last month from the agency’s chief financial officer, David Radzanowski. “His email subject was, ‘Christmas in January,’” Shin said.
http://spacenews.com/white-house-proposes-19-billion-nasa-budget/
 

Flyaway

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But if you can get rid of the sonic boom, or at least drastically reduce its negative effects, the US and other countries that imitated its ban might be persuaded to allow the revival of supersonic flight. That’s the goal of the “low boom” aircraft, NASA says: “to overcome the sonic boom barrier and open the door for development of a new generation of supersonic civil transport aircraft.”

NASA hasn’t said much about how that plane will reduce the boom, except that it will try to validate work it’s done in the wind tunnel. The general idea is to shape the plane so the shockwave it produces isn’t quite so rough for those on the ground. The plan right now is to produce a preliminary design review in FY 2016, with a detailed design in FY 2017. The agency’s not the only one working on this problem: Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, have shown concepts for supersonic aircraft in the past few years, and billionaire-backed Aerion Corp. plans to deliver a supersonic business jet around 2023.
http://www.wired.com/2016/02/boom-nasa-wants-to-bring-back-supersonic-x-planes/
 

Flyaway

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NASA Administrator to Make X-Plane Announcement at Reagan National Media Event

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Research Jaiwon Shin will be at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, at 1:30 p.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 29, to discuss with media NASA’s advanced aeronautic concepts. They’ll also make an announcement about the agency’s plan for a series of experimental aircraft.

Bolden and Shin will discuss NASA’s research into green aviation technologies, a critical part of President Obama’s push to build a clean transportation system for the 21st century, and the agency’s New Aviation Horizons initiative, which is a 10-year plan to build a series of experimental aircraft, or X-planes. Models and graphics of potential X-plane designs will be on site for viewing.

Representatives from the Aerospace Industries Association and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics also will attend.
http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-administrator-to-make-x-plane-announcement-at-reagan-national-media-event
 

hesham

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Nice find Flyaway,and we can put this picture here.
 

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Flyaway

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I recognise two that is LM's quiet boom demonstrator & the AFRL's future transporter but not the other two?
 

sferrin

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Flyaway said:
I recognise two that is LM's quiet boom demonstrator & the AFRL's future transporter but not the other two?
Boeing BWB
 

TomS

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The lower left looks to be a manned version of the Greased Lightning tilt-wing electric aircraft. They've mentioned something similar as possibly fitting into NASA's Personal Air Vehicle concept.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_GL-10_Greased_Lightning



Correction:

Lower left is SCEPTOR (Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology Operations Research): a modified Tecnam P2006T with distributed electrical propulsion motors along the wing.

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/features/sceptor.html

http://scitechdaily.com/distributed-electric-propulsion-may-usher-in-a-new-era-of-flight/
 

TomS

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So it's a quiet Friday so I did some additional research:

  • Top is the NASA design from their Commercial Supersonic Technology program: http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/aavp/cst/index.html
  • Center-right is a NASA blended-wing body design, looks like a scaled up X-48: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/aeronautics/features/bwb_main.html
  • Center-left is a NASA concept called "Turboelectric Single-Aisle Aircraft Concept": http://www.nasa.gov/feature/researchers-advance-propulsion-toward-low-carbon-aircraft
    (you can just read that name on the large version of the image)
  • Bottom-left is SCEPTOR: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/features/sceptor.html
 

Flyaway

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TomS said:
So it's a quiet Friday so I did some additional research:

  • Top is the NASA design from their Commercial Supersonic Technology program: http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/aavp/cst/index.html
  • Center-right is a NASA blended-wing body design, looks like a scaled up X-48: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/aeronautics/features/bwb_main.html
  • Center-left is a NASA concept called "Turboelectric Single-Aisle Aircraft Concept": http://www.nasa.gov/feature/researchers-advance-propulsion-toward-low-carbon-aircraft
    (you can just read that name on the large version of the image)
  • Bottom-left is SCEPTOR: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/features/sceptor.html
Thank you for that.
 

TomS

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My pleasure. It's probably worth mentioning at these are not necessarily the X-planes that will actually be built, even assuming the buet comes through.

SCEPTOR seems likely since they already testing the base aircraft and the new wing individually. And the press release is fairly solid on the Blended Wing-Body aircraft and a supersonic bizjet-sized concept, which may or may not be related to the design here. The rest of the program is much more speculative.
 

Flyaway

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TomS said:
My pleasure. It's probably worth mentioning at these are not necessarily the X-planes that will actually be built, even assuming the buet comes through.

SCEPTOR seems likely since they already testing the base aircraft and the new wing individually. And the press release is fairly solid on the Blended Wing-Body aircraft and a supersonic bizjet-sized concept, which may or may not be related to the design here. The rest of the program is much more speculative.
One interesting vehicle I'll be hoping might appear out of this is the NASA/LM hypersonic demonstrator. When NASA it was announced were getting LM to do analysis in relation to the SR-72 there was talk then of NASA building a demonstrator.

If the study is successful, NASA wants to fund a demonstration programme. Lockheed would test the dual-mode ramjet in a flight research vehicle, and try to find solutions to issues like engine packaging and designing the thermal management system, Bartolotta says.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/nasa-launches-study-for-skunk-works-sr-72-concept-407222/
 

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SCEPTOR is notable for a number of reasons, notably that it's probably the closest to completion. It's the extension of the LEAPtech demonstrator work done by Joby Aviation. Joby are basically getting NASA to fund initial dev for the their distributed electric VTOL called S2. Another notable is that ESaero is also part of the LEAPtech/SCEPTOR work. ESaero was a participant in NASA N+3 future commercial aircraft studies, and for the study they produced a 767 class cryogenic methane based turbo-electric aircraft design using superconductors. ESaero then went back and reworked the design with current conventional electric motor and electrical subsystems technology advances and achieved a N+2 level non-superconducting design that closed (as seen on their homepage, an embedded distributed propulsor wing with a planform more like a C-130).
 

Flyaway

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And here is the project chosen. The Quiet Boom demonstrator from LM.

http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-begins-work-to-build-a-quieter-supersonic-passenger-jet

The concept is dubbed the “Low Boom Flight Demonstration Quiet Supersonic Transport” or “QueSST” (somehow). Today NASA announced that they’d awarded defense giant Lockheed Martin a $20 million contract for 17 months of preliminary development on the concept. The end goal of the project, according to NASA, is “A piloted test aircraft that can fly at supersonic speeds, creating a supersonic 'heartbeat'--a soft thump rather than the disruptive boom currently associated with supersonic flight.”
http://www.popsci.com/nasas-next-x-plane-will-go-fast-and-go-silently

This will be flying across the US by 2020, hopefully you will not even notice it. Cool design.

NASA selected a team led by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, California, to complete a preliminary design for Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST). The work will be conducted under a task order against the Basic and Applied Aerospace Research and Technology (BAART) contract at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

After conducting feasibility studies and working to better understand acceptable sound levels across the country, NASA's Commercial Supersonic Technology Project asked industry teams to submit design concepts for a piloted test aircraft that can fly at supersonic speeds, creating a supersonic "heartbeat" -- a soft thump rather than the disruptive boom currently associated with supersonic flight.

“Developing, building and flight testing a quiet supersonic X-plane is the next logical step in our path to enabling the industry's decision to open supersonic travel for the flying public," said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission.

Lockheed Martin will receive about $20 million over 17 months for QueSST preliminary design work. The Lockheed Martin team includes subcontractors GE Aviation of Cincinnati and Tri Models Inc. of Huntington Beach, California.

The company will develop baseline aircraft requirements and a preliminary aircraft design, with specifications, and provide supporting documentation for concept formulation and planning. This documentation would be used to prepare for the detailed design, building and testing of the QueSST jet. Performance of this preliminary design also must undergo analytical and wind tunnel validation.

In addition to design and building, this Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) phase of the project also will include validation of community response to the new, quieter supersonic design. The detailed design and building of the QueSST aircraft, conducted under the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate's Integrated Aviation Systems Program, will fall under a future contract competition.
http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-begins-work-to-build-a-quieter-supersonic-passenger-jet

NASA video.

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/aeronautics/index.html
 

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flateric

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8r-Pm1-dVc
 

Flyaway

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Skunk Works Refines Quiet Supersonic Design

Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is beginning a fast-paced year of preliminary design work on a low-boom demonstrator for NASA that the agency is increasingly optimistic will pave the way for environmentally acceptable supersonic business jets and airliners. The single-engine Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft is designed to test whether the shockwave signature of potential future Mach 1-plus vehicles would be acceptable to the public, clearing the way for supersonic flight ...

http://aviationweek.com/technology/skunk-works-refines-quiet-supersonic-design
 

Stargazer2006

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Wasn't the Quiet Boom demonstrator supposed to be the Gulfstream X-54, originally announced for display at Farnborough 2014?
 

Moose

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I believe the Gulfstream deal starved to death due to lack of funding.
 

sferrin

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Moose said:
I believe the Gulfstream deal starved to death due to lack of funding.
SOP in the US
 

Flyaway

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And here we have the first X plane in a decade, the X-57 nicknamed Maxwell.

With 14 electric motors turning propellers and all of them integrated into a uniquely-designed wing, NASA will test new propulsion technology using an experimental airplane now designated the X-57 and nicknamed “Maxwell.” This artist's concept of the X-57 shows the plane's specially designed wing and 14 electric motors. NASA Aeronautics researchers will use the Maxwell to demonstrate that electric propulsion can make planes quieter, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

“With the return of piloted X-planes to NASA’s research capabilities – which is a key part of our 10-year-long New Aviation Horizons initiative – the general aviation-sized X-57 will take the first step in opening a new era of aviation,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, during his keynote speech Friday in Washington at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) annual Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition.

NASA’s aeronautical innovators hope to validate the idea that distributing electric power across a number of motors integrated with an aircraft in this way will result in a five-time reduction in the energy required for a private plane to cruise at 175 mph.

Several other benefits would result as well. “Maxwell” will be powered only by batteries, eliminating carbon emissions and demonstrating how demand would shrink for lead-based aviation fuel still in use by general aviation.

Energy efficiency at cruise altitude using X-57 technology could benefit travelers by reducing flight times, fuel usage, as well as reducing overall operational costs for small aircraft by as much as 40 percent. Typically, to get the best fuel efficiency an airplane has to fly slower than it is able. Electric propulsion essentially eliminates the penalty for cruising at higher speeds.

Finally, as most drivers of hybrid electric cars know, electric motors are more quiet than conventional piston engines. The X-57’s electric propulsion technology is expected to significantly decrease aircraft noise, making it less annoying to the public.

Image Credit: NASA Langley/Advanced Concepts Lab, AMA, Inc.
http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/nasas-x-57-hybrid-electric-research-plane
 

Stargazer2006

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Great! Thanks for the info and link, Flyaway.
 

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Great document, thanks for sharing. Really shows just how massively more efficient electric designs are.
 

Flyaway

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Does anyone want to hazard a guess what X number the quiet boom demonstrator is likely to be?
 

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Gulfstream X-54A Quiet Supersonic Aircraft, nicknamed Whisper Jet. Since it was unproduced maybe its successor will be X-54 also, Idk.
 

Flyaway

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Dynoman said:
Gulfstream X-54A Quiet Supersonic Aircraft, nicknamed Whisper Jet. Since it was unproduced maybe its successor will be X-54 also, Idk.
Thank you. Good thinking.
 

TomS

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They don't appear to have recycled numbers assigned to other unbuilt X planes; once a number is assigned it stays with a specific aircraft.

The next unused number seems to be X-58. Anyone's guess whether there is another program that might take that before the QueSST gets to that point.
 

Stargazer2006

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TomS said:
They don't appear to have recycled numbers assigned to other unbuilt X planes; once a number is assigned it stays with a specific aircraft.
Agreed. And even in the case when it was the most possible (i.e. cancellation of the Airbus deal over the KC-45A before a contract was even issued) they skipped it and moved on to KC-46A. So, yes. Despite the great similarities between Gulfstream and Lockheed's projects, there is no doubt that a new number will be allocated.
 

AeroFranz

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DARPA's LightningStrike is farther ahead and a subscale vehicle is already flying. however, it may or may not qualify for an X-designation.
 

TomS

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The criteria for x-plane designation has never been very clear, but DARPA even put the word "X-Plane" in the program name, so it would make sense for them to apply for a number. If so, LightningStrike might get X-58 and QueSST would be X-59. Or vice versa -- I think it matters who files first not who flies first.
 

Stargazer2006

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This being said, NASA has flown countless aircraft over the past few decades that DIDN'T garner a DoD designation. I suppose for an "X-" designation to be allocated, there should be some degree of involvement, at least real interest from one of the armed forces, right? Can you think of any X-plane that was totally devoid of military interest? I shouldn't think so.
 

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Skyblazer said:
This being said, NASA has flown countless aircraft over the past few decades that DIDN'T garner a DoD designation. I suppose for an "X-" designation to be allocated, there should be some degree of involvement, at least real interest from one of the armed forces, right? Can you think of any X-plane that was totally devoid of military interest? I shouldn't think so.
Good as any, although I'm not sure the X-48 has much.. . .never mind. Has the USAF logo on it.
 

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It would be nice to take some of the R&D to prototype level but that would be a lot more expensive than CGI and RC models.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fdCoAuNyYg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yfr6WDFN7d0
 

TomS

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Skyblazer said:
Can you think of any X-plane that was totally devoid of military interest? I shouldn't think so.
X-38 Crew Return Vehicle had no military involvement as far as I can see. Sure, there's a general military interest in spaceplane concepts, but that's true of almost any aeropace technology. The specifics of the X-38 concept and NASA's partnership with ESA and DLR probably removed any chance of a US military role in the program.
 

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NASA Aims For Supersonic Airliners As Quiet As Subsonic

After minimizing sonic boom, reducing airport noise is seen as the next biggest barrier to commercially viable future supersonic transports. As it works toward flying an X-plane in 2019 to demonstrate low-boom design technology, NASA is conducting ground tests of an engine nozzle that could make a small supersonic airliner as quiet as current subsonic transports. The model tests underway at NASA’s Glenn Research Center will validate design tools and concepts for an integrated ...

http://m.aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/nasa-aims-supersonic-airliners-quiet-subsonic
 

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http://aviationweek.com/aircraft-design/nasa-studies-subsonic-x-plane-options-costs?NL=AW-19&Issue=AW-19_20160913_AW-19_469&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2&utm_rid=CPEN1000000230026&utm_campaign=6992&utm_medium=email&elq2=c7a02e888b21405293576ee6583c89c2
 

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http://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/711142/Faster-than-speed-sound-Nasa-radical-future-plan-for-planes-aurora-flight-sciences-mit

One of the models is a twin-hull plane called the ‘double bubble’ D8 and fast enough to break the sound barrier.

Aurora Flight Sciences teamed up with MIT researchers to develop the futuristic plane in 2008.

Nasa has finally granted £2.19million to bring one of the models to life.
Some salt may be required.
 

sferrin

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Grey Havoc said:
http://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/711142/Faster-than-speed-sound-Nasa-radical-future-plan-for-planes-aurora-flight-sciences-mit

One of the models is a twin-hull plane called the ‘double bubble’ D8 and fast enough to break the sound barrier.

Aurora Flight Sciences teamed up with MIT researchers to develop the futuristic plane in 2008.

Nasa has finally granted £2.19million to bring one of the models to life.
Some salt may be required.
 

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TomS

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There isn't enough salt:

https://www.nasa.gov/content/the-double-bubble-d8-0

The D8 series aircraft would be used for domestic flights and is designed to fly at Mach 0.74 carrying 180 passengers 3,000 nautical miles in a coach cabin roomier than that of a Boeing 737-800.
Emphasis added.
 

AeroFranz

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Some journalist wasn't paying attention and combined the D8 story with the Lockheed QUESST.
 

TomS

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AeroFranz said:
Some journalist wasn't paying attention and combined the D8 story with the Lockheed QUESST.
Or was confused because D8 was part of NASA's N+3 program, which also had a couple of supersonic concepts (one of which fed into QUESST, I think).

Here's a couple of stories that get more right:

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/aurora-d8-nasa-spending-2-9m-revitalise-double-bubble-subsonic-twin-hull-planes-by-2027-1581718
http://newatlas.com/nasa-x-plane-aurora-d8/45415/

The noteworthy thing is that NASA is paying Aurora $2.9 million to continue development of the D8 for six months, to prepare it for possible selection as an X-plane candidate. Assuming that goes as planned, it sounds like they intend to go with a 1:2 scale flying demonstrator within 3 years. The second part isn't in the press releases but it is in a couple of news stories, so I'm guessing it came out in a conference call associated with the release. But it might be mangled -- they probably said something like "if D8 is selected as an X-Plane program, we would build a 1:2 scale demonstrator within three years" or some such.
 
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