Tag Archives | NASA

Whatever happened to…NASA’s X-34?

It ended up in a hangar covered in bird crap, that’s what. A remnant of an unhappy time in NASA’s recent history, the Orbital Sciences-built X-34 was photographed by Ashley Wallace in storage at Edwards AFB in California. The X-34 was built as a flying testbed to demonstrate technology for future low-cost reusable launch vehicles. […]

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The architect of NASA’s aeronautics rennaissance is leaving

Interesting news: NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics Lisa Porter is leaving the research agency to become the first director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) – a DARPA for the spooks. It’s a great move for the striking Porter, who came to NASA from DARPA in 2005 to head the agency’s new aeronautics […]

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Blended wing-body – the future of flight?

Like it or not, the blended wing-body airliner will not go away. Those that like the BWB point to its aerodynamic and structural efficiency, its ample volume for passengers, cargo and fuel. Those that don’t point to its lack of windows. non-circular pressure vessel and edge-of-the-envelope flying qualities. But if the world starts to take […]

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Quietly does it – NASA’s new steps to supersonics

A look at the direction of NASA’s supersonic research under its Fundamental Aeronautics programme makes an interesting comparison with its High-Speed Research programme, cancelled in 1999. The focus of HSR was the High-Speed Civil Transport, a 300-seat, Mach 2.4 airliner intended to fly at supersonic speeds only over the oceans. NASA’s HSCT – a 1998 […]

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A STOL jetliner – NASA’s answer to congested runways

NASA has sent me a two-CD set (how seasonal!) on its revitalised Fundamental Aeronautics programme. One is the presentations from the programme’s recent annual meeting (saved for later posts). The other is a 12-minute movie produced by the programme and entitled “Today’s Research…Tomorrow’s Flight“. I have shamelessy ripped some clips from the DVD to show […]

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NASA’s long look into the future of civil aviation

We are all wondering what the next Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies will look like, but NASA is already looking beyond that – waaaay beyond that, to airliners that could enter service in 2030-35. The agency is holding a pre-proposal conference in Washington DC on 29 November as a precursor to inviting bids for advanced concept […]

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Ahead by a nose – NASA shows its testing skills

My colleague Steve Trimble went to the Society of Experimental Test Pilots’ annual symposium this year, and met some of my personal heroes like Eric “Winkle” Brown. I wanted to go, but a least he brought me back a video. So I have picked a couple of my favourite clips. The first is of NASA […]

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The week in aviation

Here are a couple of headlines you may have missed: Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin caused a stir when their VIP Boeing 767-200 was spotted at NASA Ames’ Moffet airfield in California, normally off limits to non-government aircraft. NASA subsequently acknowledged it had signed an agreement to let the 767 use Moffet in […]

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NASA updates on Boeing’s X-48B Blended Wing Body

NASA has just posted an update on the Boeing X-48B Blended Wing Body demonstrator, along with some cool pictures of “Skyray 48″. First flown in July at NASA Dryden, the subscale unmanned X-48B has completed six flights and is now on the ground for maintenance and modification – including replacement of the fixed extended slats […]

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The next X Prize – land a robot on the Moon

The X Prize Foundation and Google have announced a $20 million prize for the first privately funded robotic rover on the Moon. This follows the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first private suborbital flight, won by Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne. It’s a bigger challenge, and a richer purse, but I am not sure the […]

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