Aurora Flight Sciences has been awarded a 12-month contract from NASA for continued development of the company´s subsonic D8 X-Plane (XD8), the company said.
The XD8 is designed to demonstrate the key enabling technologies of the D8 commercial aircraft concept, which could yield substantial fuel, noise and operational efficiency improvements within the next decade.
The objective of the competitively awarded contract is to assist NASA in reducing the risk and cost of future X-Plane procurements through the design of critical building block tests that will precede the XD8 first flight. This contract will simultaneously mature the XD8 aircraft along three dimensions.
First, XD8 aerodynamics will be further developed through the design of a transonic wind tunnel test. Second, the readiness of the Boundary Layer Ingesting (BLI) propulsion system will be advanced via the design of a transonic BLI fan test. Lastly, the complex propulsion-airframe structural integration will be matured through the design of a large-scale structural test article.
In 2016 NASA launched the “New Aviation Horizons X-Plane Initiative,” one part of which is the “Ultra-Efficient Subsonic Flight Demonstrator” program. “New Aviation Horizons will demonstrate transformational configurations and technologies that will revolutionize flight and keep the US at the forefront of aviation,” said Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate Dr. Jaiwon Shin, discussing the program at the recent AIAA AVIATION 2017 conference.
Aurora Flight Sciences is an innovative technology company which strives to create smarter aircraft through the development of versatile and intuitive autonomous systems. Operating at the intersection of technology and robotic aviation, Aurora leverages the power of autonomy to make manned and unmanned flight safer and more efficient.
Headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, Aurora operates production plants in Bridgeport, West Virginia and Columbus, Mississippi, has Research and Development Centers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dayton, Ohio and Mountain View, California, and a European office, Aurora Swiss Aerospace, located in Luzern, Switzerland.