Get ready for the next generation of passenger airplanes.
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, joining these planes of the future (and these). 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.
According to NASA: "[E]ach 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. For the rest of this year, each team will be exploring, testing, simulating, keeping and discarding innovations and technologies to make their design a winner."
Apparently, NASA is aiming to develop a line of super-planes that larger, faster, quieter, and that burn fuel slower and cleaner than their present counterparts.
There's also a slide show there with more future planes.
The three concept photos on the page really aren't that outlandish but are interesting.