NASA Gives Us a First Look at the Airplanes of 2025

The Boeing Company concept of an aircraft that could enter service in 2025Lockheed Martin concept of an aircraft that could enter service in 2025Northrop Grumman concept of an aircraft that could enter service in 2025
Late last year, NASA awarded three contacts to teams from Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing, to study what future aircraft designs could look like in 2025. Now, NASA is giving us a preview of the concepts that look very different to each other, but all meet the same requirements for larger, faster, quieter, and fuel efficient flight.

This project is the kind of long term aeronautical experimentation that NASA funds from time to time, encouraging big companies to look into long term evolutionary concepts rather than their conventional research and development that is usually slow and incremental.

A clear guideline was given to the three companies, which had to dream up aircrafts that manage 85 percent of the speed of sound, with a range of 7,000 miles and a payload of 50,000 to 100,000 pounds, in either passengers or cargo form. The 2025 airplanes will also have to operate safely in a more modernized air traffic management system.

Boeing’s design the most familiar of the bunch. It looks very similar to the companies other concepts, featuring a part-winged, part lifting-body vehicle configuration. The main advantage of this shape is its huge internal volume that could carry a lot of passengers of even cargo. The engines are mounted on top of the rear body, between two vertical stabilizers, so that their noise is much better shielded from the ground. In the picture we can see that the engines are either conventional turbofans or turbo-screw design that is proving such a hot-topic recently.

Northrop Grumman has gone for a dual-fuselage design that can produce a much larger cargo volume using more conventional aircraft designs and components. The engines are partly shielded by the twin bodies which will contain noise pollution better.

Lockheed Martin proposed the aesthetically attractive model of them all, with a concept that combines current aircraft body design mixed with unique aerodynamic advances in the vehicle's wing and engine.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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