NASA teams with Boeing on development of more fuel-efficient aircraft

An artist's concept of the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing aircraft.
(Image credit: Boeing)

NASA announced Wednesday that it will be investing $425 million in aerospace manufacturer Boeing to help with an emissions-cutting project at the behest of the White House.

In a press release, NASA said the project, known as the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator, would seek to "develop and flight-test a full-scale Transonic Truss-Braced Wing demonstrator aircraft," a single-aisle airplane that would be significantly greener than those currently available.

NASA noted that the TTBW, unlike other single-aisle planes, would "result in fuel consumption and emissions reductions of up to 30 percent relative to today's most efficient single-aisle aircraft." The TBBW will have longer, thinner wings with stabilizers that make it more aerodynamic and thus more fuel efficient.

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The TTBW's first test flight is planned for 2028, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said he hoped to have this next generation of aircraft in service by the 2030s.

In a separate statement, Boeing said that it will contribute the remaining $725 million needed for the project through its own funding. Boeing chief engineer Greg Hyslop added, "The SFD program has the potential to make a major contribution toward a sustainable future."

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, perhaps in a bit of foreshadowing, had said last November, "There'll be a moment in time where we'll pull a rabbit out of the hat and introduce some new airplanes sometime in the middle of next decade," per Reuters.

The SFD program is a way to try and achieve the U.S. Aviation Climate Action Plan. Created by the Biden administration, the plan's goal is to have the U.S. reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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