NASA to Invest $425M to Develop Next Gen Sustainable Airliners

January 18, 2023 by Dan McCue
NASA to Invest $425M to Develop Next Gen Sustainable Airliners
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson holds a model of an aircraft with a Transonic Truss-Braced Wing during a news conference on NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, at the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building in Washington, D.C. (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

WASHINGTON — NASA announced Wednesday that it will award The Boeing Company $425 million over the next seven years to advance research into a new generation of “green” single-aisle airliners.

The funding is being awarded under the umbrella of the agency’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, and under the agreement between the two parties, Boeing will work with NASA to build, test and fly full-scale demonstrator aircraft.

The goal is to validate technologies aimed at lowering emissions associated with commercial passenger flight.

While NASA is bringing $425 million to the table, Boeing and its partners will contribute the remainder of the agreement funding, estimated at about $725 million.


“Since the beginning, NASA has been with you when you fly,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a written statement Wednesday morning. 

“NASA has dared to go farther, faster, higher. And in doing so, NASA has made aviation more sustainable and dependable. It is in our DNA,” he said.

Nelson went on to say NASA’s goal in its partnership with Boeing is to develop “future commercial airliners that are more fuel efficient, with benefits to the environment, the commercial aviation industry, and to passengers worldwide. 

“If we are successful, we may see these technologies in planes that the public takes to the skies in the 2030s,” he said.

Single-aisle aircraft account for nearly half of worldwide aviation emissions.


NASA plans to complete testing for the project by the late 2020s, so that technologies and designs demonstrated by the project can inform industry decisions about the next generation of single-aisle aircraft that could enter into service in the 2030s.

Through the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project, Boeing and its industry team will partner with NASA to develop and flight-test a full-scale Transonic Truss-Braced Wing demonstrator aircraft.

The Transonic Truss-Braced Wing concept involves an aircraft with extra-long, thin wings stabilized by diagonal struts. This design results in an aircraft that is much more fuel efficient than a traditional airliner due to a shape that would create less drag — resulting in its burning less fuel.

NASA’s goal is the technology flown on the demonstrator aircraft, when combined with other advancements in propulsion systems, materials, and systems architecture, would result in fuel consumption and emissions reductions of up to 30% relative to today’s most efficient single-aisle aircraft, depending on the mission.

Through separate efforts, NASA has worked with Boeing and other industry partners on advanced sustainable aviation concepts, including the Transonic Truss-Braced Wing concept.

“We’re honored to continue our partnership with NASA and to demonstrate technology that significantly improves aerodynamic efficiency resulting in substantially lower fuel burn and emissions,” said Todd Citron, Boeing chief technology officer, in a statement. 

“Boeing has been advancing a multipronged sustainability strategy, including fleet renewal, operational efficiency, renewable energy, and advanced technologies to support the U.S. Aviation Climate Action Plan and meet the industry objective of net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Citron said. 


“The Sustainable Flight Demonstrator builds on more than a decade of NASA, Boeing, and our industry partners’ investments to help achieve these objectives.”

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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January 18, 2023
by Dan McCue
NASA to Invest $425M to Develop Next Gen Sustainable Airliners

WASHINGTON — NASA announced Wednesday that it will award The Boeing Company $425 million over the next seven years to... Read More

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