NASA embarks on new project to reduce aviation impact on environment

Published on : Monday, January 11, 2016

Air plane AirportThe NASA project started from 2009 to 2015 is part of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s Integrated Systems Research Program, the Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project explores and documents the feasibility, benefits and technical risk of vehicle concepts and enabling technologies to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment.



Current-generation aircraft already benefit from the NASA investments in aeronautical research that have improved fuel efficiencies, lowered noise levels and reduced harmful emissions. Although substantial progress has been made, much more needs to be done.




Forecasts call for the nation’s air transportation system to expand significantly within the next two decades. Such an expansion could bring adverse environmental impacts. To neutralize or reduce these impacts is the goal of the ERA Project and its focused research.



The project is organized to:

Mature promising technology and advanced aircraft configurations that meet mid-term goals — in the next five to 10 years — for community noise, fuel burn and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions as described in the National Aeronautics Research and Development Plan and;
Determine the potential impact of these advanced aircraft designs and technologies if successfully implemented into the air transportation system.


Research Challenges
To mature technologies and study vehicle concepts that together can simultaneously meet the NASA Subsonic Transport System Level Metrics for noise, emissions, and fuel burn in the N+2 timeframe the ERA Project is working on technologies in these research areas:
Innovate Flow Control Concepts for Drag Reduction.

Advance Composites for Weight Reduction
Advance UHB Engine Designs for Specific Fuel Consumption and Noise Reduction
Advance Combustor Designs for Oxides of Nitrogen Reduction.

Advance Airframe and Engine Integration Concepts for Community Noise and Fuel Burn Reduction.


The ERA Project is comprised of three subprojects: Airframe Technology, Propulsion Technology and Vehicle Systems Integration. Work within the project is coordinated with research performed by other programs within NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate as well as other federal government agencies.
NASA has also put mechanisms in place to engage academia and industry, including working groups and technical interchange meetings; Space Act Agreements for cooperative partnerships; and the NASA Research Announcement process that provides for full and open competition for the best and most promising research ideas. The ERA Project disseminates all of its research results to the widest practical extent.
These activities support research within the aeronautics strategic thrust area 3.

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