London: NASA has awarded a 100,000-dollar grant to a University of Miami Professor for further development of a new type of aircraft called the supersonic plane concept.
The plane is created in a way that will allow it to take off from the ground, and then turn on its side once it reaches supersonic atmospheric levels so that it can continue its flight into the uppermost parts of space.
The plane looks something like a four-cornered ninja throwing star with two sides that are extended out while the other two sides are far shorter, the Daily Mail reported.
When the plane takes off from the ground, it has to have the longer wings on either side, making the plane appear shorter in length and longer in width, according to Engadget.
Normal commercial airplanes have such significant wings because they need to use that wingspan to gain enough momentum to get off of the ground.
While the large wingspan is needed to take off, it creates too much drag for the plan when it reaches supersonic speeds.
As a result, once it reaches the supersonic atmosphere, the plane will then rotate 90 degrees so that it is longer and thinner than when it took off.
The new technology pioneered by Dr. Gecheng Zha of University of Miami can overcome these problems.
The school has an animated video of the plane in flight- equipped with the University’s logo on the wings- to give a fuller idea of the shift and at what point that would happen during the flight.
Engadget reports that the recently-approved award from NASA will allow the Professor and his aides to continue their research and refine it using simulations and wind tunnel testing.
But is still expected to take decades before any form of said plane becomes a reality.
First Published: Monday, September 03, 2012, 12:46