NASA and Boeing will work together on the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project to build, test and fly an emission-reducing single-aisle aircraft this decade.
“It’s our goal that NASA’s partnership with Boeing to produce and test a full-scale demonstrator will help lead to future commercial airliners that are more fuel efficient, with benefits to the environment, the commercial aviation industry, and to passengers worldwide. If we are successful, we may see these technologies in planes that the public takes to the skies in the 2030s,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement.
The first test flight of this experimental aircraft is set to take place in 2028. Airlines largely rely on single-aisle aircraft, which account for nearly half of aviation emissions worldwide.
The design that NASA and Boeing are working on could reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30% compared with today’s most efficient aircraft.
It’s called the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing concept, which relies on elongated, thin wings stabilized by diagonal struts that connect the wings to the aircraft. The design’s shape creates less drag, which means burning less fuel.