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Aerion Corporation AS3

Aerion Corporation AS3 Hypersonic flight is arbitrarily defined as flight at speeds beyond Mach 5 although no drastic flow changes are evident to define this. Several formidable problems are encountered at these speeds. First, the shock waves generated by a body trail back at such a high angle that they may seriously interact with the boundary layers about the body. For the most part, these boundary layers are highly turbulent in nature. Secondly, across the strong shocks, the air undergoes a drastic temperature increase. Aerodynamic heating of the body is a major problem. For sustained hypersonic flight most normal metals used in today's airplanes would quickly melt; therefore new materials or methods that can withstand the high-temperature effects are required. Aerion made an announcement that stunned industry observers. By the end of this decade, the company plans to make a quantum leap in fast air transportation with its AS3. Up to 50 passengers will be able to travel for a maximum of 13,000 kilometers at Mach 4 (about 5,000 km/h) or even faster. This would mean an airliner would finally reach the low hypersonic region, which starts at Mach 5. The fastest aircraft with air-breathing engines so far is the military surveillance plane Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which attained Mach 3.3 (about 4,000 km/h).

This plane once made it from New York to London in just under two hours on a record flight with air-to-air refueling. Aerion had teamed up with NASA's Langley Research Center to study the future of commercial flight in the Mach 3-5 range.

According to Aerion CEO Tom Vice, there is an interesting sweet spot around Mach 4.5, enabling flying from the US to Japan in two hours or less while avoiding certain challenges with materials and cooling. Details about the AS3 are still vague, but apparently its design includes swept delta wings, twin vertical tails and four engines mounted under the wings. Aerion has promised to share more insights on the design later this year. Its objective is to connect any two points on the planet within three hours. "Supersonic flight is the starting point. To truly revolutionize global mobility as we know it today, we must push the boundaries of what is possible," said Vice.

Bernd Liebhardt from the German Aerospace Center is much more reserved. "For me, hypersonic lies several decades in the future. Supersonic is already a difficult undertaking, and hypersonic is going still another step further," he said. "We need to get supersonic to work first."

On 09 February 2021 Aerion Supersonic and NASAs Langley Research Center announced a joint study with the intention of accelerating realization of commercial high-speed flight and faster point-to-point travel. Pursuant to the latest Space Act Agreement (S.A.A.) entered into between Aerion Supersonic and NASA, the two parties will engage in research and development on a future generation of ultra-high-speed or high Mach aircraft.

This is a continuation of a long-standing relationship between Aerion Supersonic and NASA, said Aerions Chairman, President & CEO, Tom Vice. At Aerion our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours. This partnership will enable the development of technologies that will help realize ultra-high-speed point-to-point global mobility solutions in the Mach 3-5 range.

This collaboration will also improve United States competitiveness in efforts to produce technically feasible and commercially viable passenger aircraft for high Mach point-to-point travel. We have made significant progress on the design of our AS2 supersonic business jet which will begin production in 2023 and this agreement with NASA will significantly add to the work our company is doing on our next generation AS3TM passenger jet.

Specifically studying commercial flight in the Mach 3-5 range, the collaboration will be used to evaluate the parametric suitability of propulsion and thermal management technologies. Through a joint assessment, the impact of Mach 3+ speed regimes will be explored to also establish solutions for enabling technologies in respect of integrated power generation and cabin systems.

NASA Langley seeks to enable the next generation of commercial air transport by generating innovative concepts, capabilities, and technologies for revolutionary advances to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact. NASAs Hypersonic Technology Project (HTP) is looking forward to working with Aerion in the pursuit of developing these hypersonic technologies to advance future civilian transportation, said Shelly Ferlemann, associate project manager for HTP at NASA.

Aerion will use the unique aerodynamic optimization tools developed by its in-house technologies company which are facilitating development of the AS2, the worlds first sustainable supersonic business jet, to conduct technology assessments on future concepts and aid a transition to the faster aircraft of tomorrow. This is the third such collaboration between Aerion and NASA, dating back to 2012.

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Page last modified: 01-07-2021 17:55:16 ZULU