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Technical Challenges for Commercial Supersonic Propulsion

[+] Author Affiliations
Louis A. Povinelli

NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

Paper No. GT2010-23720, pp. 411-426; 16 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2010: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 1: Aircraft Engine; Ceramics; Coal, Biomass and Alternative Fuels; Education; Electric Power; Manufacturing Materials and Metallurgy
  • Glasgow, UK, June 14–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4396-3 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3872-3


The NASA Supersonics Project is focused on overcoming the major technical challenges associated with the development of commercial supersonic flight. The NASA Project has identified a number of technical issues that must be overcome in order for this mode of flight to become practical. In particular, the propulsion technologies must meet all of the current subsonic engine noise and emissions regulations at takeoff and landing, as well as acceptable particulate and water emissions at high altitude. High specific thrust will be required, and the effect of shocks associated with the engine inlets, nacelles and exhaust plumes must be minimized in order to achieve a low boom signature. High temperature, light weight materials are vital to achieving acceptable long range durability and efficiency. The main emphasis of this paper will be concerned with the improvements required for the propulsion system in order to achieve the goals established over the 2015 to 2030 time period. The need to successfully integrate the engine with the vehicle remains a critical issue that needs to be accomplished. This presentation presents the ongoing research activities toward achieving these goals.

Topics: Propulsion



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