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NASA Transportation Technology

NASA's Next-Generation Airplane Concepts 120

Posted by timothy
from the well-the-military-industrial-complex's dept.
faisy writes "NASA has taken the wraps off three concept designs for quiet, energy efficient aircraft that could potentially be ready to fly as soon as 2025. The designs come from Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and The Boeing Company. In the final months of 2010, each of these companies won a contract from NASA to research and test their concepts during 2011."
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NASA's Next-Generation Airplane Concepts

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  • /. hm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Konster (252488) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @01:34AM (#34895084)

    I think we are reaching the end of the internet if this is /.worthy.

  • by wizardforce (1005805) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @02:07AM (#34895210) Journal

    In all seriousness, I wonder how much of it is purposeful. Every time there's a blatant spelling error or TFA is irrelevant, what do we as Slashdotters do? We make a fair number of comments which tends to attract attention/page views. This time, the summary didn't even link to the actual article at NASA; TFA was just a re-hashing (almost copy pasta) of the original. The last time, he managed to misspell Photonic despite it being spelled correctly in the copy/paste of the first few sentences of TFA. So either we have a consistent editing problem or a problem of self interest gone awry.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2011 @03:08AM (#34895390)
    Who cares? You "exposed" him? Is Judaism to be hidden? I am uber-WASP and don't care about ethnicity (except for the wealth of dining opportunities it affords).
  • by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @03:26AM (#34895446)

    Actually, I don't think it does.

    Here's [] a larger picture. Notice how the engine is mounted on a fin that does not emerge vertically from the tail of the aircraft. The engine mount comes out of the fuselage at an angle, and then curves up towards the vertical through the space occupied by the engine. If you look at the bottom of the fuselage, you can just make out the edge of a second engine's bluish cowling. It's mounted on the other side, also angled out from the aircraft, but largely obscured by the point of view of the image.

    I don't think they chose a very good camera angle for showing off the concept.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @09:03AM (#34896446) Journal
    Concorde had a lot of problems. Supersonic flight over populated areas tends not to be permitted, so they were only really useful in transoceanic flights. They were very inefficient, so the ticket prices were high. In the '70s, there was a large market or expensive-but-fast flights. Now, they're competing with email, cheap international telephone calls, and video conferencing. Very few businesses can justify double the ticket cost to get to the destination a couple of hours earlier. Or, rather, having a couple of hours less time in the air - the small number of flights meant that if you suddenly had to be on another continent at short notice you could typically get there faster by taking the next flight than by waiting for the next Concorde. With power and Internet connections in business class, most executives could get some work done (or enjoy the champagne in first class) on other commercial flights, so the time in the air was no longer wasted. Add to that, Concorde was really small. Flying first class in Concorde was a lot less comfortable than in something like a 747, and 7 hours in comfort often beat 4 hours in much more cramped conditions for flyers.

    In contrast, a more efficient aircraft has obvious advantages. Even if it's slightly slower, passengers will often pick the cheapest flight even if it's slightly longer. If it's about the same speed, then operators can keep prices the same and make more profits until their competitors try bringing the price down.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @01:10PM (#34898036) Homepage
    Exactly. Look at the Boeing 787 [] - it actually looks pretty 'normal' and the 'only' revolutionary changes have been making it out of composites rather than aluminum. Still it's taking years and billions of dollars extra to get out the hanger. Even factoring out Boeing's brain dead idea to fob out manufacturing to virtually every country on the planet with electricity, it's still quite hard to get even modest changes in extremely complex, extremely expensive systems.
  • by michelcolman (1208008) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @01:33PM (#34898188)
    You see people trotting down a runway with bird cages on their heads, all kinds of awful colors mixed together, and various body parts showing that maybe shouldn't be showing. Half a year later, the shops are actually selling normal clothes in the general average color of the ones you were shown on the show, with a few accents of the other colors, and no longer showing all those body parts.
    Airplanes are exactly the same.

Optimization hinders evolution.