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NASA Seeking Proposals To Develop Subsonic Aircraft That Reduces Cost, Aviation Emission

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NASA is seeking proposals from U.S. companies for ground and flight demonstrations of integrated megawatt-class powertrain systems to design and develop subsonic aircraft that help reduce aviation emissions and invigorate the U.S. economy.

The US space agency said it plans to build hybrid aircraft using integrated Electrified Aircraft Propulsion (EAP) technologies and associated EAP vision systems for introduction into the U.S. and global fleet by 2035. Integrated EAP concepts are rapidly emerging as potentially transformative solutions to significantly improve the environmental sustainability of the next generation of subsonic transport vehicles.

It is also expected to reinvigorate the regional and emerging smaller aircraft markets, and to strengthen the single-aisle aircraft market.

Through partnerships with U.S. industry, NASA intends to acquire necessary ground and flight test data to advance design and modelling tools pertinent to future aircraft products with an EAP system.

Just like electric or hybrid motors are used in automobile vehicles, EAP electrical systems are being developed to replace or boost fuel-burning aircraft propulsion systems.

Studies conducted by NASA and the aviation industry have proved that EAP concepts can reduce energy usage, carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions as well as operating costs that will benefit both the air travelers and the airline operators.

Target markets for the technology include turboprops, regional jets, and single-aisle aircraft serving the thin-haul (very short flights), regional, and single-aisle markets.

NASA said the Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration project directly supports retaining U.S. leadership in the aerospace manufacturing sector, the largest net-exporter of all U.S. manufacturing sectors.

It has set April 20 as the deadline to submit proposals.

"The release of this request for proposals represents an important next step as NASA partners with industry to further mature critical EAP technologies through demonstrating integrated megawatt-class powertrain systems in flight," said Lee Noble, NASA's Integrated Aviation System Program director.

"These flight demonstrations have strong applicability to sustainable and highly-efficient aircraft powertrain systems that will facilitate continued U.S. competitiveness for the next generation of commercial transport aircraft," he added in a press release.

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