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NASA Space Science Technology

NASA Aeronautics Budget Proposes Return Of X-Planes (phys.org) 74

If President Obama's recently released federal budget request is approved for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2016, next year will be the first in a bold 10-year plan by NASA Aeronautics to achieve huge goals in reducing fuel use, emissions, and noise by the way aircraft are designed, and the way they operate in the air and on the ground.

One exciting piece of this 10-year plan is New Aviation Horizons -- an ambitious undertaking by NASA to design, build and fly a variety of flight demonstration vehicles, or "X-planes." The demos included advancements in lightweight composite materials that are needed to create revolutionary aircraft structures, an advanced fan design to improve propulsion and reduce noise in jet engines, designs to reduce noise from wing flaps and landing gear, shape-changing wing flaps, and even coating to prevent bug residue buildup on wings.
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NASA Aeronautics Budget Proposes Return Of X-Planes

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Beware of hacked ISOs if you downloaded Linux Mint on February 20th, 2016!

    #####

    "I'm sorry I have to come with bad news.[1]

    We were exposed to an intrusion today. It was brief and it shouldn't impact many people, but if it impacts you, it's very important you read the information below.

    What happened?

    Hackers made a modified Linux Mint ISO, with a backdoor in it, and managed to hack our website to point to it.

    Does this affect you?

    As far as we know, the only compromised edition was Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon editi

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Wow now thats news good thing I read at -1 or I'd have missed that. /. News for nerds just a bit on the slow side nowadays. From the blog it says they had to shut the server down following a second attack it was a Wordpress vuln.

  • If President Obama's recently released federal budget request is approved

    Okay, that's all we need to read of this article.

  • About time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Sunday February 21, 2016 @05:40AM (#51551777)

    For far too long, the US Congress has whored itself out to aerospace corporations that have paid more attention to making sure some part of their grossly-overpriced new plane was built in every district in the country than building a plane that actually worked stretched the limits of what was possible.

    Is there anything in the air today that can compare to the X-15 or the Blackbird? What has the US accomplished in the last 50 years that can even touch those accomplishments? And when was the last time an astronaut went further into space than anybody with a half-assed camera and a cheap pair of binoculars can photograph?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The SR-71 Blackbird was a product of Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works division.

      I can't tell whether your comment is anti Military Industrial Complex, or anti Pork Barrel Spending (the same kind of spending that got the Challenger astronauts killed), so I'm mentioning the origins of the Blackbird, just in case your comment is the former type of comment.

      • by rbrander ( 73222 )

        I don't see that the two kinds of comments are mutually exclusive; indeed, I'm not sure they aren't the same complaint. Without pork barrel spending, there would be NO military-industrial complex.
        I may be misunderstanding the original complaint, but certainly MINE is that the MIC is almost bewilderingly inefficient. You can get away with that DURING a war, but after WW2, only the propaganda that there was a "cold war" still on made it acceptable to the public...and then they handed THAT insanely inefficie

        • by rbrander ( 73222 )

          Yikes, sorry, more like $30M/person-day in orbit; there were only 350-ish astronauts total but I forgot some went up many times. Maybe they got it down below $2M per astronaut-working-hour in space, I think my point remains the same.

      • No, my comment wasn't anti-military. My problem is with the lack of game-changers.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Pork barrel spending didn't get the Challenger astronauts killed. What got them killed was people trying to please an administration obsessed with PR, plus corporate management. No, Reagan didn't personally order them to fly and as much as I think he was the worst thing that ever happened to the US I truly think he would have told them not to had he been informed of the situation. He was not. His handlers though were evil people who just wanted their PR stunt and I'm certain NASA knew that without actua

    • My country does useless stuff with the tax-payers money but who (ok, maybe someone) didn't wanted to experience space travel in their life time and so on?

      USA & NASA has done so much in the area and I think it would had been ok if other nations such as mine (Sweden in this case) would had chipped in to do even more. ESA may do some but to get the really big things done you need the real big budgets I guess =P.

      Guess the same could be said about say the North korean rockets and the money spent previously i

    • Re:About time (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:30AM (#51551945)

      Well, the X-15 was an experimental aircraft, the capabilities of which we understand enough today to not need to repeat - our current technological limit that is being tested is air breathing hypersonic aircraft, not rocket propelled hypersonic aircraft. Rocket propelled hypersonics are a "solved problem", so why do we need to keep spending money there?

      The SR-71 can be equaled or exceeded by several countries today, but the reality is that it was a costly aircraft that was superseded by satellites and the aircraft it was intended to replace (the U-2). If a mission requirement for the SR-71 was ever to come around again, a new aircraft will be built - and as it stands, feasability studies are being undertaken into a hypersonic SR-72... The SR-71 simply outlived its usefulness, and the world moved on.

      Unless you are suggesting the US government should be spending money on useless, ego boosting, prestige projects rather than actually advancing technology across a broader range of areas, what do you suggest should be being done?

      • There is no publicly acknowledged air-vehicle with the flight envelope of either the X-15 or the SR-71 in routine operation. Period. There are other platforms that can perform SOME of the operational capabilities of the Blackbird.

        I agree 100% on the air-breathing, hypersonic air-breathing being hard - but if we had continued working on air-vehicles like the X-7 "Flying stove pipe" who knows where we would be now.

        I'm not quite sure what you mean by "ego projects". Many projects that critics would throw th

    • Progress (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @10:04AM (#51552169)

      Is there anything in the air today that can compare to the X-15 or the Blackbird?

      Sure. On what specific basis are you comparing? Speed? Stealth? Utility? Efficiency? Avionics? Reliability? I'd be happy to provide you examples in any specific category you care to mention. We retired the Blackbird because we've exceeded what it could do in most ways. The X15 was an experiment and we've long since had the capability to exceed what it can do in literally every respect. What is the point of duplicating it today? Sure they were cool and cutting edge for their time but that time was a loooong time ago.

      Furthermore remember that some of the most advanced stuff is still classified. We didn't know much about the SR71 for much of its early operational history. Stuff like the B2 and F117 were almost complete surprises when they were unveiled. Quite likely there is some pretty nifty classified stuff the US military is working on that we know little/nothing about.

      What has the US accomplished in the last 50 years that can even touch those accomplishments?

      Plenty! [popularmechanics.com] Just off the top of my head: Stealth, hypersonic aircraft, drones, private spacecraft, engine efficiency/power, avionics, GPS, the list goes on and on and on. If you think we haven't exceeded the SR-71 or the X15 then you haven't been paying attention. Just because we aren't making drop-in replacements for vehicles whose service life is complete doesn't mean we aren't progressing.

      And when was the last time an astronaut went further into space than anybody with a half-assed camera and a cheap pair of binoculars can photograph?

      1972 but you knew that. Unclear what that has to do with experimental aircraft.

      • drones,

        Drones aren't new, they're just cheap now. We've had drones since before WWII. The V1 bombs were drones. Here's a cool picture of 4 engined prop driven drones flying in formation and looking amazingly badass in 1946:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        Yep in case you're wondering they're B-17 bombers retrofitted with remote control hardware for operation as drones.

        Here's a full sized floatplane drone from 1936:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        Some of the drones are remote controlled, others, like the V

        • Drones aren't new, they're just cheap now.

          Sigh... Just because somebody did some piece of the technology before doesn't mean the current versions aren't new. If you think there is nothing new about drones today over the versions we had 50 years ago you need to pay better attention. Drones aren't just cheaper. They are better too. Lots better. They are FAR more capable in literally every measurable way. It's like comparing the wright flyer to the Bell X1. They are both manned aircraft but only a fool would argue there is "nothing new" betwee

          • Sigh indeed. Your post is sadly typical of comments here now. You wrote something at best ambiguous. Instead of admitting that, you instead go on the attack insisting I said things other than what I said.

            It's just as wrong to list drones under achievements as it is to list aircraft. Sure, we have unimaginably better versions of both, but neither is new.

            But I see you'd rather throw insults and misrepresentation around than have precision of language.

      • I probably should have expressed myself more clearly. I meant that the US hasn't done anything revolutionary in aviation/space in a very long time.

        Where are the game-changers? A hypersonic plane? Really? Great description of the X-15. Meanwhile, there have been no manned missions beyond a point we've been able to reach reliably since the 1950's. GPS? You're proving my point! The concept was understood since before Sputnik, and it was first implemented 40 years ago. "Utility, efficiency, reliability

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          Ah... I think I see your problem(s). Let's start with what I think is the root of the problem.

          Only the media (and not even all of them) made the mistake of thinking that the F-35 was supposed to be the "best in US aerospace." Not even close - it was known that it would not be the fastest, the most stealthy, the best fighter, or the best at anything. In fact, it's pretty much what was expected and given a whole lot of extra scrutiny and yellow journalism.

          If I'm reading you correctly, that's the root of all y

          • by khallow ( 566160 )

            Being the best has absolutely nothing to do with the F-35.

            If we ignore the corruption that's the real driver of the program and just take the plane at face value, then it had better be the best at what it does, given the money spent on it.

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              I am told that, if it has the anticipated numbers built, it will be cheaper than many other options that were/would be available at the current levels of tech and engineering. How true that is, I do not know. The numbers are greater than purchase price. I can not swear to the veracity of those statements. However, the per-plane price, as the TCO, is supposed to be less expensive than what other options are available for a plane that serves those functions.

              Nobody, for example, expects a plane that is a "jack

              • by khallow ( 566160 )

                I am told that, if it has the anticipated numbers built, it will be cheaper than many other options that were/would be available at the current levels of tech and engineering.

                One can say the same of any military airplane. Volume allows costs to go down. The F-22 was supposed to have even better economies of scale.

                Most procurements are looked at in a TCO valuation.

                So what explains the consistent cost overruns?

                • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                  > So what explains the consistent cost overruns?

                  Graft, greed, corruption, and incompetence. *sighs* I know I don't have to explain that to you. ;-)

                  • by khallow ( 566160 )
                    My point to this is that we have the official narrative and what actually happens. In addition, we have remarkably low expectations. When you wrote:

                    If I'm reading you correctly, that's the root of all your problems. You don't appear to understand the objectives, limitations, complexities, methods, or environment. Like most things, it's complicated. The F-35 is a good example. The F-35 was never meant to be, and will never be, what you're expecting. Being the best has absolutely nothing to do with the F-35. It was never a design goal, that's an impossible design goal. Once you get past that, you'll probably see where some of your other problems originate.

                    For the money that was actually spent ($400 billion last I checked), the US should have gotten the best fighter jet of the time (no matter what diminished expectations were stated of the project then or now). In reality, it got yet another vehicle (in a different sense of the word) for transferring public money to private hands.

                    Low expectations are a remarkab

        • Where are the game-changers? A hypersonic plane? Really? Great description of the X-15.

          The X15 was a manned rocket with wings. The X51 [wikipedia.org] is a scramjet powered unmanned hypersonic aircraft. If you don't see where the boundaries are being pushed there I suggest you conduct a little study session. We've gone FAR past what we learned from the X15 program.

          GPS? You're proving my point! The concept was understood since before Sputnik, and it was first implemented 40 years ago.

          Who gives a shit when the "concept was understood"? We understood the concept of supersonic flight before WWII but that didn't mean we could do it. You claimed that there had been no progress in the last 50 years which is complete nonsense. G

  • Why they spend the budget to create aircraft emission in outerspace ? We need to reduce the emission on our earth
  • The anti bug stick stuff would have many aviation applications, where laminar flow is important.
    A sailplane can lose 30% or more performance in increased drag from bugs on the leading edges.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Zuckerberg invest 1 billion in Barack Obama ideas

  • This sounds like a project that the private sector should be able to fund all by themselves. The small NASA budgets are better spent on different goals.
  • But how about going faster or higher? Airlines speeds have plateaued at around 0.85 Mach for the last 50 years. How about cheaper and quieter to go faster?
  • I remember when NASA put men on the moon. Today, NASA is trying to save United and American Airlines (the idiots behind 9/11) some money.

  • pretty affordable to, especially if you are NASA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

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