With the advancements in new technologies, the aviation industry is expected to grow at a significant rate. The following key technologies are currently disrupting the aviation industry, including cybersecurity, geospatial technology, alternative fuels and energy sources, robotics and automation, new aircraft designs, internet of things (IoT), and virtual and augmented reality, among others.
The upgradation of propulsion systems by promoting alternative fuel and energy sources is one of the major technology changes observed in the aviation industry. With the aim of decreasing pollution generated by air travel, next-gen aircraft propulsion systems are being developed. This propulsion system uses less jet fuel which results in less emission of harmful particles to the atmosphere. Moreover, few propulsion systems are also being developed with the aim of reaching hypersonic speed. The next-gen aircraft propulsion system includes electrical propulsion and scramjet propulsion.
According to a recently published market intelligence, the global next-gen aircraft propulsion system market is expected to grow at a significant CAGR 16.34% during the forecast period 2025-2035. The global next-gen aircraft propulsion system market is gaining widespread importance owing to the increasing demand of eco-friendly air travel, reduced operational costs and increased speeds. Moreover, the investments in alternative electric power sources, advancements in next-generation electronic components, and advances in high-density battery solutions are other important factors that may propel the market growth in the coming years.
Recent developments carried out by NASA on Next-Gen Aircraft Propulsion:
Single Propulsor Test Stand: Single propulsor test stand is a modular test stand built at Armstrong to assist NASA’s researchers to perform extensive measurements for the performance and efficiency of electric propulsion systems up to 100 kW. The test stand enables opportunities to establish effective test methods for this emerging technology. Its enormous collection of sensors collects extensive information on thrust, torque, motor speed, voltages, vibration/acceleration, currents, and temperatures. Some of the benefits of this test stand is that its quite modular, flexible, and is highly efficient as well.
Leading-Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology (LEAPTech): LEAPTech examines this technology through a series of ground tests to authenticate the tools used for developing a distributed propulsion wing. Small propellers with battery-powered motors are positioned along the whole span of the research wing. Each propeller/motor can be controlled autonomously at distinct speeds for enhanced performance and reduced acoustic noise. Some of its benefits include high performance, produces less aircraft noise, and its environment friendly.
Hybrid-Electric Integrated Systems Testbed (HEIST) Ironbird: Researchers are building a research plan to examine several types of hybrid-electric propulsion technologies such as batteries and turbogenerators on an instrumented ironbird test wing. A small turbine generator powers the distributed electric propulsion system and be incorporated with an Armstrong simulator to reproduce system failures, control systems, and control laws. Some of the benefits of HEIST ironbird, include modular test environment, efficient test platform, and reduces risk.