Aurora Flight Sciences has been contracted by NASA to evaluate a subsonic commercial aircraft concept, the company said.
Called the Single-Aisle Turboelectric Aircraft with Aft Boundary Layer propulsion (STARC-ABL), the concept features conventional underwing gas-turbine engines and a ducted, boundary layer ingesting tailcone propulsor driven by a turboelectric propulsion system, Aurora said. The aircraft is designed to yield substantial fuel efficiency benefits.
Aurora is also under NASA contract to develop the D8 commercial airliner. That, too, is supposed to provide fuel reductions — Aurora said it would amount to about 50% reductions in fleet-wide burn, compared to current designs. Aurora said it plans to leverage lessons learned across its electric aircraft portfolio to assist NASA in validating the system level performance of the STARC-ABL aircraft.
Aurora recently said Boeing has plans to acquire the company for terms undisclosed at that time.