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NASA awards contracts for 'green' airliner

by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Nov 26, 2010
NASA says future airliners need to be quieter, greener and more fuel-efficient, and the agency is putting its money where its mouth is, officials say.

NASA awarded almost $6 million in contracts this week to two defense industry giants, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp., to begin the journey toward those goals, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The technology goals NASA has set are for future aircraft to burn 50 percent less fuel than current models, cut harmful emissions in half and shrink the geographic areas affected by obnoxious airport noise by 83 percent, the newspaper said.

Lockheed's famed Skunkworks defense facility in Palmdale, Calif., won about $3 million to develop the concepts while Northrop engineers in El Segundo, Calif., were given $2.65 million.

Engineers will spend 12 months coming up with concepts for aircraft that can fly near the speed of sound at a range of 7,000 miles while carrying up to 100,000 pounds of either passengers or cargo.

NASA says it hopes the companies can come up with concepts for airliners that could go into service by 2025.

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