NASA Boeing X-48 Spacecraft Technology Evolution

The Boeing X-48 is an experimental unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for investigation into the characteristics of blended wing body (BWB) aircraft, a type of flying wing. Boeing designed the X-48 and two examples were built by Cranfield Aerospace in the UK.

 

Boeing began flight testing the X-48B version for NASA in 2007. The X-48B was later modified into the X-48C version. It was flight tested from August 2012 to April 2013. Boeing and NASA plan to develop a larger BWB demonstrator.

 

 

In this episode of NASA X, we follow members of the Environmentally Responsible Aviation team as they conduct a variety of tests on new aircraft designs that are in the early stages of development. We will follow them to see how initial designs and ideas are moved through the pipeline from computer drawings and wind tunnel models, all the way to scale-model aircraft and full-scale flights. We will see how each new step is bringing us closer to flying onboard future aircraft that are more efficient, quieter, and safe.

 

What does it take to change the world? Historically, change has usually been slow-moving and methodical, taking hundreds of years for even incremental advances to be seen. But over the past century, things have shifted, and that trend has reversed to the point where some forms of change now come at breakneck speed. Just look at our personal computing devices as an example. Our cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices come out to great fanfare one day, only to be labeled as obsolete and clunky after only a few months.

 

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NASA Boeing X-48 Spacecraft Technology Evolution Full Documentary