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Researchers Make Progress on Low-Carbon Aircraft

When Orville Wright traveled to Cleveland for the dedication of the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in the 1940s, he had already witnessed the advancement of aircraft from his Kitty Hawk model to the winged machines that fought in World War II.

Today, the lab, now known as NASA Glenn Research Center, has engineers and scientists engaged in an agency-wide effort to develop alternative designs for large passenger aircraft using low-carbon propulsion technology that Wright may have never dreamed of.

Since the beginning, commercial planes have been powered by carbon-based fuels such as gasoline or kerosene. While these provide the energy to lift large commercial jets into the world’s airspace, electric power is now seen as a new frontier for providing thrust and power for flight.

H. Michael Miley

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