Gallery: NASA Unveils Passenger Plane Designs for 2025


On the heels of MIT’s design for the plane of the future, NASA has given us a peek into some of the new ideas they have slated for the not-so-distant future. Recently, NASA asked the three largest airplane companies in the US to come up with a design that would fit a very specific criteria. This project hoped to create a full-functioning plane by the year 2025 that would not only use significantly less fuel, but be cleaner and quieter and be able to haul ass. To our surprise, the designs they received from the trio were not only radical, but also a little bit retro!

These images are from initial proposal that NASA used in awarding contracts to Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing. The critera stated on NASA’s website was that “each design has to fly up to 85 percent of the speed of sound; cover a range of approximately 7,000 miles; and carry between 50,000 and 100,000 pounds of payload, either passengers or cargo.”

The Lockheed Martin‘s design (above) is the most conventional with a central fuselage, and a sweeping wing and single engine. Overall, the design looks like it’s off to a promising start.

Boeing seemed to been thumbing through the history books as they planned the development a flying wing (top) – the theoretical efficiency of the design has been long understood, but not yet realized.

Alternatively, Northrop Grumman’s take looks like a baby plane with huge pontoons which are really double cabins. While the rendering is a bit minimal, the design looks to be a radical change in what know to be commercial airplanes.


Via Gizmodo


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  1. Grant Kyle December 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Why the obsession with building aircraft that travel faster.If designers built aircraft with a shape more akin to that of a glider,and the cruising speed of said aircraft was say 350mph,there would be a massive reduction in fuel consumption.The energy needed to push an object through the air increases with the square of the speed,doesn\’t it?
    Turbofans would be smaller,lighter less expensive.The aircraft would be lighter less expensive to build.Take off and landing speeds would be slower,thus safer.Runways would be shorter.
    Of course journey times would be longer,but if instead of seats three tiered bunks were used in say a herring bone pattern with a central aisle,the flight would be very comfortable.
    It is often said \”time is money\”,but what is often forgotten is \”money is time\”
    Think about it,how many hours at work do you spend to pay for a flight? For example,Glasgow to Vancouver is approx 4500 miles and takes 9 hours.A typical flight in the summer costs £700.If a alternative flight cost £350 and took 14~15 hours and you could rest in a comfortable bunk,which flight would you choose?Just a thought.

  2. mswings January 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

    2025??????????? Are we seriously pretending that all the supressed technologies are not going to be out waaaaaaay before 2025?? I’m looking for the end of our slow, tedious flight craft asap!

  3. lazyreader January 17, 2011 at 7:58 am

    There gonna charge a lot more just for window seats as there are technically fewer of them. Say one in twenty can sit next to a window, where today’s planes, its about one out of four or six.

  4. ironboltbruce January 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    At Lockheed Martin, we contract with people for profit:

    At Lockheed Martin, we count people for profit:

    At Lockheed Martin, we coerce people for profit:

    At Lockheed Martin, we control people for profit:

    At Lockheed Martin, we kill people for profit:

    At Lockheed Martin, we never forget what we’re working for…

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