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Drucella Andersen

Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
July 15, 1994
(Phone: 202/358-4733)

H. Keith Henry
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
(Phone: 804/864-6124)

RELEASE: 94-118


NASA today announced the award of a $440 million contract that
marks the first time America's two leading airplane manufacturers
have teamed up to develop technologies for a potential future
U.S. High-Speed Civil Transport (HSCT).

This precedent-setting action joins Boeing Commercial
Airplane Group, Seattle, Wash., with McDonnell Douglas Aerospace,
Long Beach, Calif., and other companies to develop airframe
technologies for aerodynamics, flight systems and materials and

"Developing the technologies for a future supersonic
airliner that will be environmentally friendly and economically
successful presents a major challenge and opportunity," said
Louis J. Williams, Director of NASA's High-Speed Research (HSR)
program. "This contract effectively combines the expertise and
capabilities of U.S. industry to accomplish this goal," Williams

Boeing has proposed that McDonnell Douglas serve as the
company's principle subcontractor. By working together under a
single contract, the two companies will be able to reduce
redundancies, lower costs and accelerate research, ensuring that
the United States remains at the forefront in commercial
aerospace competition.

Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, along with General Electric
Corp. and Pratt & Whitney, previously had competed with NASA via
separate contracts in the first phase of the NASA HSR program.
Phase I was aimed at developing technologies to address important
environmental issues such as the reduction of noise and engine
Progress made in Phase I has led to Phase II of the program,
which focuses on moving technology concepts out of the laboratory
and into practical applications. Phase II will focus on
developing and providing the technology necessary to make a
future supersonic airliner economically practical as well as
environmentally compatible.

In June, NASA awarded Honeywell Inc. $75 million to conduct
flight deck systems research and technology development for the
potential HSCT, and last year the agency selected GE and Pratt &
Whitney to negotiate a contract for propulsion technologies.

The HSCT, a commercial supersonic aircraft, could fly 300
passengers across the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans at 2.4 times the
speed of sound -- cutting travel time by more than half. The new
aircraft will fly faster than the Concorde, go nearly twice as
far and be able to carry three times as many passengers.

The second phase also will include performance evaluations
of representative engine components, structural verification
tests of new engine and airframe materials and flight tests of
better wing designs and new cockpit technology.

The flight deck systems effort will develop controls,
guidance and synthetic vision technology, such as might be used
to allow the pilot to fly the aircraft in all weather conditions
with a "no-nose-droop" design, a significant improvement over the
first generation Concorde.

The main objective of the aerodynamics effort is to develop
technology to increase the supersonic and subsonic cruise
performance of the potential transport. Researchers will use
wind tunnels and computational techniques to look at several
different designs for the transport's components, primarily the
wing and the horizontal tail.

Researchers in materials and structures will develop new
metallic alloys and composite materials for the airframe that can
withstand temperatures of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit at cruise
speeds. Also, researchers will develop technology to produce
wing and fuselage structures that are 33 percent lighter in
weight than comparable Concorde structures, while also economical
to manufacture and highly durable.
NASA's HSR program, begun in 1990, is the cornerstone of
NASA aeronautics research for the 1990s. Funding for the
agency's program, which addresses only high-risk, high-priority
technology, totalled $197 million this fiscal year, with
comparable investments planned through the end of the century.
American industry is making parallel investments to complete the
high-risk technology, and they will decide whether building a
next-generation supersonic transport makes good business sense.

NASA's Office of Aeronautics, Washington, D.C., directs the
High-Speed Research program. NASA's Langley Research Center,
Hampton, Va., is the agency's lead center for overall technical
project implementation, with the Lewis Research Center,
Cleveland, leading the propulsion technology development.

The Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., is
working on laminar flow control, flight testing and sonic boom
research for the HSR program, while the Ames Research Center,
Mountain View, Calif., is working on flight deck technology,
sonic boom and aerodynamics research.


EDITORS NOTE: A videotape describing NASA's High-Speed Research
program is available to media representatives by faxing a request
to 202/358-4333. The video length is 1 minute and 11 seconds.
Still photos of the Boeing and McDonnell Douglas concepts of the
High-Speed Civil Transport are available by faxing a request to
the same number.

Color: B&W:

McDonnell Douglas: 94-HC-184 94-H-198
Boeing: 94-HC-185 94-H-199