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NASA's Next-Generation Airplane Concepts

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the well-the-military-industrial-complex's dept.

NASA 120

faisy writes "NASA has taken the wraps off three concept designs for quiet, energy efficient aircraft that could potentially be ready to fly as soon as 2025. The designs come from Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and The Boeing Company. In the final months of 2010, each of these companies won a contract from NASA to research and test their concepts during 2011."

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120 comments

Cloud City (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895046)

The 4th picture in TFA reminds me of Cloud City...

Uh good job linking to a spamblog (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895048)

A spamblog with two boring images. Bravo, editors.

In other news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895082)

Bears against the Seahawks. I'm torn. I'm a Bears fan, but we all want to see a losing team win the Superbowl.

I now return you to your usual spam fest...

/. hm (4, Insightful)

Konster (252488) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895084)

I think we are reaching the end of the internet if this is /.worthy.

Re:/. hm (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895196)

Are you joking this is one of the better stories on /.. It integrates the latest and greatest tech from NASA (nerdy) and new awesome means of transportation (which matters if you travel).

Re:/. hm (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895866)

It's okay, we just need to flip it upside down to hear the B-Side. Just don't play it backwards for the love of god.

Was this story a mistake? (4, Interesting)

nloop (665733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895100)

Seriously, a few poorly rendered concept drawings? There aren't words. There isn't anything to discuss here...

Timothy, have you been drinking?

Re:Was this story a mistake? (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895210)

In all seriousness, I wonder how much of it is purposeful. Every time there's a blatant spelling error or TFA is irrelevant, what do we as Slashdotters do? We make a fair number of comments which tends to attract attention/page views. This time, the summary didn't even link to the actual article at NASA; TFA was just a re-hashing (almost copy pasta) of the original. The last time, he managed to misspell Photonic despite it being spelled correctly in the copy/paste of the first few sentences of TFA. So either we have a consistent editing problem or a problem of self interest gone awry.

Re:Was this story a mistake? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34897742)

Yeah I sometimes suspect all of that is cynical trolling for extra hits/posts. Maybe next time we should tag/comment such a story as "troll" or "spam". Then once that's done, don't bother with the "story".

Re:Was this story a mistake? (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895336)

I've noticed that Timothy has been banning me for days, even weeks, at a time; because I exposed him as a Jew years ago. See the last article and other Israel-related articles on his watch as proof. Years ago, he made the mistake of posting in a discussion his trip to Israel.

See you all in a month. It's been good knowing you.

Re:Was this story a mistake? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895390)

Who cares? You "exposed" him? Is Judaism to be hidden? I am uber-WASP and don't care about ethnicity (except for the wealth of dining opportunities it affords).

Re:Was this story a mistake? (-1, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895410)

When you enjoy Slashdot and are conveniently censured(banned from posting for weeks despite being a paid subscriber) for weeks at a time, from a forum which claims to support freedom of speech, yeah; something's up.

Re:Was this story a mistake? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895452)

Maybe you're a dick and it's really not someone else's fault.

Re:Was this story a mistake? (5, Funny)

Somewhat Delirious (938752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895850)

I've noticed that Timothy has been banning me for days, even weeks, at a time; because I exposed him as a Jew years ago. See the last article and other Israel-related articles on his watch as proof. Years ago, he made the mistake of posting in a discussion his trip to Israel.

See you all in a month. It's been good knowing you.

Let me clarify to you why you get banned:

I've noticed that Peter has been banning me for days, even weeks, at a time; because I exposed him as a Physicist years ago. See the last article and other Physics-related articles on his watch as proof. Years ago, he made the mistake of posting in a discussion his trip to the Tevatron.

Re:Was this story a mistake? (0)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34898100)

Oh boy, now you've done! Publicly reveling that you a victim of persecution by a Jew is the Worst thing you could do. Now you'll face the full weight of the Kabbalistic pesecution! Now everytime you go to the DMV or a delicatessen, your number will be skipped! Every time you go through airport security, the TSA will give your scrotum an extra squeeze and every time a UFO flys by your going to get an anal probing! Oh woe is you.

Re:Was this story a mistake? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895930)

Seriously, a few poorly rendered concept drawings? There aren't words. There isn't anything to discuss here...

Timothy, have you been drinking?

To be fair to Timothy, he's an idiot. No drink required.

My airplane concept was also given a grant. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895122)

You see, by bio-engineering giant birds, and strapping a freight container to the back, we can eliminate the need for pilots.

Re:My airplane concept was also given a grant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895164)

Supposing two giant birds carried it together. They'd have to have it on a line. Perhaps a bio-engineered strand of treebark...

Actual article link (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895124)

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/aeronautics/features/flight_2025.html

Re:Actual article link (3, Interesting)

Ganthor (1693614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895304)

The lifting body design (Boeing) has been publicly tested at NASA for a couple of years now. They are even at the stage of scale testing in wind tunnels. The other concepts are .... well concepts as far as I can tell.

Re:Actual article link (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895392)

I'm not sure if we can expect something Boeing-like coming to fruition anytime soon. Seems a bit incompatible with installed airport infrastructure or maintenance methods. More than the other concepts.

Re:Actual article link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895926)

I'm not sure if we can expect something Boeing-like coming to fruition anytime soon. Seems a bit incompatible with installed airport infrastructure or maintenance methods. More than the other concepts.

That is the reason why a government agency and not a business is funding the research. If the research was low-risk, short-term and incremental in nature NASA would be out of line to do it with tax payer money. That is Boeing's, Airbus's and the rest of the commercial industry's job to do.

Re:Actual article link (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34896032)

Point taken, but this deal seems pretty short-term to me. 15 years is basically in the range of timescales needed from conception to introduction of any new airliner. Might be too short for new major airport or terminal... (plus many places just got or are getting new modern ones, they sure won't be willing to quickly do major changes geared for just one aircraft type)

The other major component discussed, going beyond turbofan engines, is relatively low-risk and incremental.

Re:Actual article link (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895506)

They're past wind tunnels. There's flying 20 foot span scale models for developing control laws now.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-48

A longer article for aircraft of the 2030s (3, Informative)

Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895748)

Probably more interesting is the link at the end of the brief article. Clicking on the text "Read About Aircraft Designs for 2035" takes you to a more detailed article on future aircraft [nasa.gov] .

NASA's goals for a 2030-era aircraft, compared with an aircraft entering service today, are:

A 71-decibel reduction below current Federal Aviation Administration noise standards, which aim to contain objectionable noise within airport boundaries.

A greater than 75 percent reduction on the International Civil Aviation Organization's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection Sixth Meeting, or CAEP/6, standard for nitrogen oxide emissions, which aims to improve air quality around airports.

A greater than 70 percent reduction in fuel burn performance, which could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the cost of air travel. The ability to exploit metroplex concepts that enable optimal use of runways at multiple airports within metropolitan areas, as a means of reducing air traffic congestion and delays.

There's also an image gallery link for more concept art and some PDF-converted presentations from Boeing, GE, MIT and Northrop Grumman.

Re:A longer article for aircraft of the 2030s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34897054)

This was more interesting. I do like the Green Machine one, very cool looking.

People have to realize that there are different planes for different trips. I live in Chicago and tend to be less than 1500 miles from most destinations in CONUS. I hardly ever get to fly a 777, but I fly the Regional jets all the time. Obviously NY to LA needs one type of plane where Chicago to Dallas needs another. As well as NY to London or rest of Europe.

Two problems with flying wings (4, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895138)

A while back I watched a documentary on flying wings and with all the their advantages, they have two major drawbacks. Firstly, we don't have the airport infrastructure to support their form factor. Secondly, passengers would be seated further away from the centerline of the aircraft. That means whenever you're making turns, passengers will experience pronounced pitching. That means more air sickness, discomfort, complaints, etc.

Re:Two problems with flying wings (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895232)

Sell it as a ride

Re:Two problems with flying wings (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895274)

Which airlines are concerned with discomfort or complaints?

Re:Two problems with flying wings (1)

Ramze (640788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895282)

Maybe the area far from the center could carry luggage & cargo

Re:Two problems with flying wings (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895990)

Another problem is that you need to be able to evacuate the airplane swiftly. If it wasn't for this, the Airbus A380 would have a wider body today.

Re:Two problems with flying wings (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34897372)

The blended-wing body design was probably originally developed as a bomber (like the B2).

So that solves your swift evacuation plans quite nicely!

Old hat? (1)

dorpus (636554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895172)

I remember design drawings that looked like this in the 1980s.

Re:Old hat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895230)

I remember design drawings that looked like this in the 1980s.

Had the same thought with regard to the Boeing flying wings. We've been offered flying wing designs for decades.

The next one is just not going to happen. There is one fan. Two are required for safety. Engines fail with sufficient frequency that this imperative will not change anytime soon.

The last one looks like it was whipped together in 30 minutes to big up a government contract proposal.

Re:Old hat? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895308)

The one fan can be driven from two turbines, but that's besides the point. If the fan of such a size decides to disintegrate, good luck containing the failure. You lose the empennage, adios.

Re:Old hat? (5, Informative)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895458)

Actually it looks like the Lockheed proposal is two-engined. I posted this comment downthread, but there's a pretty good chance it'll just get buried down there, so I thought I'd post it here too.

Here's [nasa.gov] a larger picture. Notice how the engine is mounted on a fin that does not emerge vertically from the tail of the aircraft. The engine mount comes out of the fuselage at an angle, and then curves up towards the vertical through the space occupied by the engine. If you look at the bottom of the fuselage, you can just make out the edge of a second engine's bluish cowling. It's mounted on the other side, also angled out from the aircraft, but almost completely obscured by the fuselage because of the point of view of the image.

I don't think they chose a very good camera angle for showing off the concept.

Re:Old hat? (1)

rodch (37782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34896622)

I don't think they chose a very good camera angle for showing off the concept.

Agreed. The wing and tailplane look to be a continuous loop, too, which is not immediately obvious (to me, anyway)

Re:Old hat? (2)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34897210)

Much better view at this resolution, thanks. Kinda looks like someone started with the flying wing concept, then hollowed it out and pasted it onto a standard fuselage. Which might be more promising than a totally new design.

Re:Old hat? (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34897444)

Yep, the Lockheed design is actually a type of biplane, where the bottom wing is swept back and the rear wing is swept forward (and each top wing holds an engine)

This "internal wing" design is similar, except it has a third bottom wing as well:
http://www.precisiondesigninc.com/iwa012.jpg [precisiondesigninc.com]

Re:Old hat? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34897178)

1980s? I was thinking they look more like toy models I had when I was a kid... 50 years ago. Of real planes. Now, ask yourself, why didn't those designs succeed into the present?

2025? (2)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895178)

You mean 2030, after NASA's next budget cut, then 2035 after the prototype is over budget and under-preforms, then 2040 after the project is taken over by new management, 2044 because of a new presidential administration's dislike of NASA, and finally canceled in 2503 for a different presidential administration's bid for re-election, showing that they can cut budgets and save money.

Lockheed wins.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895180)

Just looking at the pics, Lockheed wins. It is enough of a departure from the standard to believe they can gain significant efficiency while at the same time it's recognizable enough to current aircraft that it should fit into existing infrastructure without too much issue.

Can't wait to fly in one in 20 years!

Familiarity is important (5, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895252)

A friend of mine is a aerospace engineer at Lockheed, and about four years ago we were talking about future improvements to airplanes. I don't recall how it came up, but I was wondering how the design could really develop much beyond where it already is... a tube full of people, with wings. He sketched out something almost identical to Lockheed's submission here, and bemoaned the fact that buyers tend to reject out of hand anything they don't immediately recognize. He told me that modern design software makes it possible to design far more efficient planes that would look very different from the ones we now have, but it's difficult (read: impossible) to get anyone to invest in a plan that deviates from the known-good designs that have been working for decades.

Re:Familiarity is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895504)

Uh that can be a good thing...

How many systems that are 'perfectly fine but old' have been replaced over the years with 'the newest in tech'. Then went on to be total disasters? When billions of peoples lives are on the line everyday perhaps tried and true and bit of prudence is in order? Knew a guy who used to write aircraft control software (amazing programmer). 'Why did you quit?' 'I got tired of having to be perfect all the time one little fuck up and 200 people die, with this 1 little fuckup and a guy might not get his printout 2 mins faster than he should'.

 

Re:Familiarity is important (2)

Eil (82413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895556)

He told me that modern design software makes it possible to design far more efficient planes that would look very different from the ones we now have, but it's difficult (read: impossible) to get anyone to invest in a plan that deviates from the known-good designs that have been working for decades.

The key phrase there is that last one. The last major development in passenger air travel (Concorde) was a technical success, but certainly not a business one and airliners are loathe to invest in anything but tried and true designs. NASA and the military drive new aircraft technology because it's too risky for the commercial sector.

Re:Familiarity is important (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895956)

Going faster than the speed of sound just doesn't make sense in a consumer aircraft right now. The materials we have take a lot of maintenance due to the strain of the shockwave, you can't break the sound barrier over settled areas, and people won't generally pay that much more for a trans-ocianic flight just to shave off a few hours.

Re:Familiarity is important (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34896446)

Concorde had a lot of problems. Supersonic flight over populated areas tends not to be permitted, so they were only really useful in transoceanic flights. They were very inefficient, so the ticket prices were high. In the '70s, there was a large market or expensive-but-fast flights. Now, they're competing with email, cheap international telephone calls, and video conferencing. Very few businesses can justify double the ticket cost to get to the destination a couple of hours earlier. Or, rather, having a couple of hours less time in the air - the small number of flights meant that if you suddenly had to be on another continent at short notice you could typically get there faster by taking the next flight than by waiting for the next Concorde. With power and Internet connections in business class, most executives could get some work done (or enjoy the champagne in first class) on other commercial flights, so the time in the air was no longer wasted. Add to that, Concorde was really small. Flying first class in Concorde was a lot less comfortable than in something like a 747, and 7 hours in comfort often beat 4 hours in much more cramped conditions for flyers.

In contrast, a more efficient aircraft has obvious advantages. Even if it's slightly slower, passengers will often pick the cheapest flight even if it's slightly longer. If it's about the same speed, then operators can keep prices the same and make more profits until their competitors try bringing the price down.

Re:Familiarity is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34896900)

NASA and the military drive new aircraft technology because it's too risky for the commercial sector.

And that, in turn, is the only 'hook' for why We the Taxpayers should be footing the bill for air travel R&D.
Given that We are funding it, let's see some measurements of NASA's efficiency and effectiveness at managing
our investments.

Re:Familiarity is important (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34896500)

He told me that modern design software makes it possible to design far more efficient planes that would look very different from the ones we now have, but it's difficult (read: impossible) to get anyone to invest in a plan that deviates from the known-good designs that have been working for decades.

For good (short- medium- and long-term financial) reasons. Any design that is a substantial departure from known-good designs is a big risk for delays, extra costs, or outright failures in development, construction, testing, certification, and operation due to novel factors that are largely unpredictable, no matter how modern the design software is. In order to explore a larger problem space and avoid being trapped in a local optimum, you need an interested neutral player like the government to fund broad research and a high risk-taking entity like NASA to actually develop the technology.

Re:Familiarity is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34896894)

I believe an "interested" party (i.e. new market entrant) would be the best one to put pressure to increase efficiency and unseat the incumbents. I would expect this to start at the "corporate" or "commuter" jet level since the craft are less expensive, the volumes are higher, and the competitive market is more vigorous. Virgin's exclusive partnership with Scaled Composites for their spacecraft seems to be a way to get a novel craft to market. Perhaps this model will expand to the point that airlines will fund the development of unique craft that fit their business model. As it is right now, airlines are commodity services providers and all the money is being made by the likes of Boeing and Airbus.

Why should the government continue to subsidize entrenched incumbents? They should be well capitalized enough to do their own experimental R&D.

Re:Familiarity is important (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34898036)

Exactly. Look at the Boeing 787 [youtube.com] - it actually looks pretty 'normal' and the 'only' revolutionary changes have been making it out of composites rather than aluminum. Still it's taking years and billions of dollars extra to get out the hanger. Even factoring out Boeing's brain dead idea to fob out manufacturing to virtually every country on the planet with electricity, it's still quite hard to get even modest changes in extremely complex, extremely expensive systems.

Airplanes can't get much more fuel efficient (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895200)

According to "Sustainable Energy--- without the hot air," [withouthotair.com] it's pretty much impossible to get anything but small gains in energy efficiency in aircraft.

Re:Airplanes can't get much more fuel efficient (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895486)

This contest isn't all about energy efficiency, though.

The other design criteria were low noise and reduced emissions of certain types. I think airspace congestion might also have been included in the weightings?

Personally I would have thought that the emissions criteria would really be more of an engine design issue rather than aircraft design, but I'm not an aeronautical engineer.

Re:Airplanes can't get much more fuel efficient (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34896222)

You can pretty much solve the most egregious problems with aircraft emissions by just not putting terrible additives in the fuel. You can solve the carbon balance by using sustainable feedstocks. The problem is not a lack of ability to improve aircraft emissions today, but a lack of will.

Re:Airplanes can't get much more fuel efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34896884)

That's not written by an expert from the industry. Even something as incremental as a new engine on an old plane could save 10-15%. Radical redesigns and long term evolution could cut fuel use in half from today's average.

That said, flying is not something that 12 billion people are going to be doing on a regular basis unless we make miraculous advances in energy production.

Re:Airplanes can't get much more fuel efficient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34898082)

According to "Sustainable Energy--- without the hot air," [withouthotair.com] it's pretty much impossible to get anything but small gains in energy efficiency in aircraft.

I went to your "Sustainable Energy" link. The analysis is basically on a high school level. I'll trust NASA and Lockheed Martin over an author who is clearly plugging his book.

-Yes, I'm an engineer.

Single Engine Lockheed? (1)

Lifix (791281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895206)

The Lockheed design has a single engine... Which is a bad idea on an airplane. It's good to think to the future, but none of these ideas are practical, and I don't think they're meant to be. Airplanes don't change in leaps and bounds they evolve slowly, building on proven technology and designs. These are just concepts produced because these companies feel they have to show something new and radical in return for taking all of nasa's money.

Re:Single Engine Lockheed? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895314)

The Lockheed design has a single fan. This doesn't imply a single engine (turbine) driving it.

Re:Single Engine Lockheed? (4, Insightful)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895446)

Actually, I don't think it does.

Here's [nasa.gov] a larger picture. Notice how the engine is mounted on a fin that does not emerge vertically from the tail of the aircraft. The engine mount comes out of the fuselage at an angle, and then curves up towards the vertical through the space occupied by the engine. If you look at the bottom of the fuselage, you can just make out the edge of a second engine's bluish cowling. It's mounted on the other side, also angled out from the aircraft, but largely obscured by the point of view of the image.

I don't think they chose a very good camera angle for showing off the concept.

Re:Single Engine Lockheed? (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895492)

If you look at the bottom of the fuselage, you can just make out the edge of a second engine's bluish cowling. It's mounted on the other side, also angled out from the aircraft, but largely obscured by the point of view of the image.

Thank you, I didn't notice that. Yes, this makes much more sense like that.
Now I can wrap my head around that rendering too.

I don't think they chose a very good camera angle for showing off the concept.

Indeed not. From this angle, it looks more like an Escher drawing than a feasible aircraft.

Re:Single Engine Lockheed? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34896800)

Apparently, the closed wing significantly reduces wingtip vortices, which can account for as much as 50 percent of an aircraft's drag. Here's [airmailmagazine.com] another concept plane using a similar configuration, but shown from a better angle.

Directions to make the next generation ... (2)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895226)

of paper airplanes worthy of this article and also of our tax paying dollars. 1. Fold in half, then open 2. Put paper in palm of open hand (pick one) 3. Crumple paper rigoriously 4. Lean back in rocker and shoot for the downtown shot and swish. 5. Send a bill for 5 million dollars to NASA for a superior design flaw, used paper.

hooray for the planned economy (-1, Flamebait)

hildi (868839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895238)

NASA existed only because of the Soviet Union. The SU is gone, all the NASA fanboys need a fat sandwich of reality.

Boeing needs to stop fucking around with pie in the sky bullshit and focus on, you know, not going bankrupt because their main product line (Dreamliner) is 2+ years behind schedule and still full of bugs, while their main competitor (Airbus) is kicking their ass in the marketplace.

You know, the marketplace. That thing America was supposed to understand and be good at. Because of all our freedom or something. Whatever.

Next thing you know, we will be flying on Chinese jets while we listen to our Chinese ipods through our Chinese earbuds eating our Chinese peanuts wearing our Chinese shoes.

Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman, unless I am mistaken, are supposed to be making robots that kill people. Not this milk toast hippie bullshit 'green airplane' stuff. When was the last time the US ever sold a Northrup Grumman passenger plane to Denmark or Saudi Arabia? Didn't think so.

Oh, and if we dont need killer robots anymore, then maybe Lockrop Grumtin should merge and/or shut down just like every other @#$@# obsolete company, ever, you know, the way things are supposed to work in a capitalist system.

We need to wake the fuck up and realize some things.

1. The only reason we went to the moon was to beat the Commies there, so they wouldnt put a nuke base and start raining down 50 megaton Tsar Bombas on Omaha Nebraska.

2. The only reason we had Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, the Shuttle, etc, was because of Sputnik, Voshkod, Buran, Borscht, whatever the hell their stuff was called. That's the only reason Congress approved the money, and the only reason the executive branch approved it. We could have fucking annexed Canada and given every goddamn person a fucking lifetime supply of refrigerators and Chryslers for what we spent going to the moon, but we chose the latter because we hate Commies.

3. The commies are gone. The only commie left is Castro, and he loves baseball. not shooting protestors like Mao's friends over in the Great People's Wal-Mart/Apple Production Facility On The Yangtze.

conclusion: suck it up. NASA should be abolished and replaced with something called Starfleet, with one mission, to explore and seek out new life and new civilizations. or something. as long as its cheap and uses unmanned robots that can be controlled by teenagers working for minimum wage, preferably (better yet, outsource it to india)

Boeing should build fucking airliners and sell them to foreigners.

Luckup should shut the fuckup and build robot bombers or close down. The air force should be abolished.
Our aircraft carriers, which are gigantic fucking floating three-mile-islands waiting to happen, should be scrapped.
Preferably in an Indian shipyard where workers have no rights or pollution controls, to reduce costs.
The navy, thus, could be abolished, its actual useful duties taken over by the Marines.

And NASA, well, NASA needs to do what the Russiands did with Buran. Leave it in a crappy hanger until it collapses and
saves us all a lot of maintenance costs.

End of interview!

Re:hooray for the planned economy (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895484)

NASA was just a renaming of NACA which existed way back in the 1930s.

Airbus made more mistakes with the conventional A380 than Boeing has with the futuristic 787. The A350 response to the 787 is even farther behind, and isn't as advanced in spite of Boeing leading the way.

Try looking at that marketplace. Airbus is by no means kicking Boeing's ass. Tey've been running in a more or less dead heat for years.

We went to the moon because Kennedy needed a political distraction after Sputnik, Gagarin, the Bay of Pigs, and other screwups. No one in their right mind imagined any nuclear missiles being launched from the moon. The physics make no sense (neither do you).

In fact, your troll rant gets even less imaginative as you trundle it along, like flat tires that get flatter and flatter as you keep driving on them.

Re:hooray for the planned economy (1)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895490)

An excellent summary..

Really, the West should concentrate on not giving the Chinese everything we have.

This is how it is working:

1) We have the ideas and make East Asian people make them cheap.
2) They profit we do not.
3) They buy everything we have.
4) They have the ideas and since we have all gone bankrupt we make it cheap.

And yeah, dump NASA and get yourself a working healthcare system at least! Then ban guns (yeah HOW MANY PEOPLE DIE OF GUN CRIME IN THE US?)

Re:hooray for the planned economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895768)

Then ban dicks (yeah HOW MANY PEOPLE GET RAPED OF DICK CRIMES IN THE US?)

Version for people with functioning brains: other nations with similar firearms penetration (but without our "urban" culture glorifying lawlessness and gang warfare) have much lower violent crime rates. Hell, even the rural areas of the US (filled with gun-totin' rednecks) have relatively low crime rates (high accidental injuries, though -- a certain class of hicks seem to think alcohol makes everything more fun, including operating motor vehicles, firearms, and any other dangerous equipment).

Therefore the guns aren't the problem, the culture's the problem -- maybe we should stop imprisoning anyone who messes with drugs (other than alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine) in what serve as gang-culture indoctrination camps... Or we could just ban guns, endure a bloody but ultimately ineffective revolution from the "cold, dead hands" crowd, and see if gangs will just shut down their meth labs, give up all their grudges and their possessiveness over "turf", and sing the carebears theme song. (To be clear -- I'm sure killings would drop some (after the initial turmoil), but we'd still be way above average, and we'd still have the cultural issues to fix.)

Re:hooray for the planned economy (2)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895874)

Next thing you know, we will be flying on Chinese jets while we listen to our Chinese ipods through our Chinese earbuds eating our Chinese peanuts wearing our Chinese shoes.

But the IP, DRM and other legal challenges will still be American :)

I live close to one of the largest wind tunnels in Europe and the Chinese have hired it for testing of their own civilian aircraft designs.
What I hear of those involved is they are so terrible bureaucratic, for even the most trivial deviation they need to call home, that any results are a very long way down the road.

Re:hooray for the planned economy (1)

billyswong (1858858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34897436)

It's because those "companies" behind those civilian aircraft designs are all somewhat nation based. So they are inherently bureaucratic, like government departments.

Thunderbirds are go! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895292)

Seriously, the two Boeing models could have come straing from an episode of Thunderbirds.
I was reminded of that only this week as Jerry Anderson was on the BBC talking about his plans for 'Thunderbirds, the next generation' (or whatever)

flying/delta wings are so 1950's in concept. Look at the designs from that period.
Concorde and the Avro Vulcan come to mind. They were not so popular in N. Americal though.

more Tax Dollars wasted methinks.

Flying car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895386)

Where is my flying car?

why don't they pay for their own R&D! (1)

byte twine (1276352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895418)

It's a shame Northrop and Boeing don't have resources to pay for their own R&D.

I've never seen less need for the US govt to step in and fund research. This is the next generation of planes for two established companies in a mature industry. So first these companies get 'paid' by NASA for the R&D, then they'll get paid to build and test prototypes, and things will cycle like that until a new plane design proves out and Northrop and/or Boeing own it, build it, and privatize the profits.

Re:why don't they pay for their own R&D! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895532)

I would guess because there aren't a whole lot of customers for this sort of thing and the R&D costs for something drastically different than the existing products are a huge risk if there aren't any guaranteed sales lined up.

We're not talking about phones or something where you can put in a different processor or a better webcam and guarantee a bunch of sales even if another product is more popular.

Re:why don't they pay for their own R&D! (3, Interesting)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34896654)

The profit motive is very good at making incremental improvements to aircraft and move towards a locally optimal solution. The problem is that capital will never be invested in big changes to aircraft concepts because that is entirely too costly and risky. (If you don't believe me, try to get a simple change to airframe design or materials certified by the FAA and try to estimate the resulting risk of failure with the amortized costs of potentially crashed airplanes full of dead and injured people). So the only way to get beyond a local optimum and try to find a better solution is to fund it from a source that is not tied to medium and long term stockholder value. Of course, it might not be worth it to search for better solutions, but, really, that is unknowable before doing the work.

Re:why don't they pay for their own R&D! (2)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | more than 3 years ago | (#34896868)

1. Bemoan loss of US tech edge
2. Bemoan lack of profits in long term research
3. Get government to spend taxpayer $$ for research the companies should do for themselves
4. Use taxpayer paid R&D to develop new products - $$ profit!
5. Sell new products in China - $$ profit!
6. China gets all that taxpayer funded R&D to develop their own products, which are cheaper than US made versions
7. Bemoan loss of US tech edge....

Next Generation (4, Funny)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895422)

This is hardly next generation. There isn't even a saucer section to separate. Where is the holodeck? This isn't even a galaxy class starship. NASA is so far behind it's going backwards. I bet they don't even do warp 3.

Re:Next Generation (1)

zeroeth (1957660) | more than 3 years ago | (#34898046)

I love how they used the whole Saucer separation thing like twice in the first season.. and then never again until Generations. (Although there may have been some separated when the hundreds of thousands of Enterprises all came into the same time/space)

NASA Cannot Exist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895448)

What if NASA were sneaking grammar up to the moon,
thus our grammar would be deprived,
we would be deprived of grammar
we would be deprived of grammar

therefore, NASA cannot exist.

All American...Amazing! (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895496)

This is starting to look a lot like when the first few pathetic, failure-prone Japanese and European cars came into the American market. Yeah, they sucked. Twenty years later, they'd driven the US auto industry to the verge of bankruptcy.

So now we have three US aerospace/defense industry companies that are pretty much useless without all that good, old-fashioned American payola putting out three or four concepts that are supposed to leave us all swooning.

So why do I have the feeling that the rest of the world is going to opt for something faster, louder and marginally less safe that the Russians will build for 25% of the cost?

Yo:u falil it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895674)

conglomerate in 7he the official GAY despite the = 1400 NetBSD Whole has lost

Design +65 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895678)

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this design looks very alike to the Horten Ho 229 design.

Re:Design +65 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895870)

NASA ripping off Nazi German research efforts? UNTHINKABLE!!!

But why are they interesting? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34897126)

I get that these are quirky designs. Why would we be interested in the bottom one as opposed to say a very long aircraft, possible with a different wing configuration. The middle one appears to be a biplane, effectively. Is this a good idea? Presumably, yes, but why?

complex is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34897644)

I think the rants of design is off the mark. these design seem to be using the logic of kiss (keep it simple stupid).

Actually, the BWB COULD be here sooner (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#34897834)

The DOD needs a new tanker and ideally, it could use new Continent-to-Continent cargo crafts, as well as a new bomber to fill in for B-52s. Rather than use a 767 or a 320, it would be better for DOD to push the BWB and use it. In particular, with the BWB, it should have a smaller profile, be more fuel efficient and interestingly, be capable of re-fueling 3 aircrafts at one time (each wing and then one underneath). That is very useful for when you send a wing elsewhere.

Or (1)

zeroeth (1957660) | more than 3 years ago | (#34897954)

We could focus on rail infrastructure and reducing ticketing costs there. You could easily cope with demand and capacity efficiently by adding/removing engines and cars as needed.

Like a fashion show (3, Insightful)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34898188)

You see people trotting down a runway with bird cages on their heads, all kinds of awful colors mixed together, and various body parts showing that maybe shouldn't be showing. Half a year later, the shops are actually selling normal clothes in the general average color of the ones you were shown on the show, with a few accents of the other colors, and no longer showing all those body parts.
Airplanes are exactly the same.
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