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NASA’s Noise-Reduction Tech to Make Quieter Airports a Reality

The Landing Gear Noise Reduction technology element addressed airframe noise caused by airflow moving past the landing gear on approach

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Just 11 years after Eisenhower authorized NASA, American astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Pixabay
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Aiming to reduce aircraft noise for communities that live near airports, NASA has successfully tested new noise reduction technologies on a series of Acoustic Research Measurement (ARM) flight, and managed to cut airframe noise during landing by more than 70 per cent.

The ARM flights, which concluded in May, at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, tested technology to address airframe noise, or noise that is produced by non-propulsive parts of the aircraft, during landing.

NASA successfully combined several technologies including Landing Gear Noise Reduction, landing gear cavity treatments, and the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge flexible wing flap, on various airframe components of a Gulfstream III research aircraft to achieve a greater than 70 per cent reduction in airframe noise.

“This airframe noise reduction produced by NASA technology is definitely momentous, and the best part is that it directly benefits the public,” ARM Project Manager Kevin Weinert, said in a statement.

“We are very confident that with the tested technologies we can substantially reduce total aircraft noise, and that could really make a lot of flights much quieter,” added Mehdi Khorrami, an aerospace scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia.

The Gulfstream III research aircraft flew at an altitude of 350 feet, over an 185-sensor microphone array deployed on the Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

NASA jet
Representational image. (IANS)

The Landing Gear Noise Reduction technology element addressed airframe noise caused by airflow moving past the landing gear on approach.

Another area of focus was landing gear cavities, also a known cause of airframe noise. These are the regions where the landing gear deploys from the main body of an aircraft, typically leaving a large cavity where airflow can get pulled in, creating noise.

NASA applied two concepts to these sections, including a series of chevrons placed near the front of the cavity with a sound-absorbing foam at the trailing wall, as well as a net that stretched across the opening of the main landing gear cavity.

This altered the airflow and reduced the noise resulting from the interactions between the air, the cavity walls, and its edges, the report said.

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To reduce wing flap noise, NASA used an experimental, flexible flap, which investigated the potential for flexible, seamless flaps to increase aerodynamic efficiency.

“While there are obvious potential economic gains for the industry, this benefits the people who live near major airports, and have to deal with the noise of aircraft coming in to land. This could greatly reduce the noise impact on these communities,” Weinert said. (IANS)

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Chandra Observatory By NASA Back in Action

Scientists are currently performing analyses and tests to determine what options were available to recover the gyro to operational performance

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NASA's Chandra Observatory back in action. Pixabay

NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory, observing the universe in high-energy light since 1999, is back in action after suffering a glitch due to the failure of the gyroscope and going into safe mode last week.

The cause of Chandra’s safe mode on October 10 has now been understood and the Operations team has successfully returned the spacecraft to its normal pointing mode, according to the US space agency.

“The safe mode was caused by a glitch in one of Chandra’s gyroscopes resulting in a 3-second period of bad data that, in turn, led the on-board computer to calculate an incorrect value for the spacecraft momentum. The erroneous momentum indication then triggered the safe mode,” NASA said in a statement late on Monday.

The team has completed plans to switch gyroscopes and place the gyroscope that experienced the glitch in reserve.

Once configured with a series of pre-tested flight software patches, the team will return Chandra to science operations which are expected to commence by the end of this week, NASA said.

On October 10, Chandra X-ray Observatory entered safe mode, in which the observatory is put into a safe configuration, critical hardware is swapped to back-up units, the spacecraft points so that the solar panels get maximum sunlight, and the mirrors point away from the Sun.

Chandra is 19 years old, which is well beyond the original design lifetime of five years. In 2001, NASA extended its lifetime to 10 years.

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres since March 2015, is also nearly out of fuel and might run out as early as October. Flickr

The US space agency said that it was also continuing to work towards resuming science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope that on October 5, entered safe mode after one of the three gyroscopes (gyros) being used to point and steady the telescope failed.

Gyroscopes help spacecraft maintain proper orientation.

Scientists are currently performing analyses and tests to determine what options were available to recover the gyro to operational performance.

Till that time, science operations with Hubble have been suspended.

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Besides Chandra and Hubble, NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope is also almost out of fuel. Kepler has found about 70 per cent of all known alien worlds to date.

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres since March 2015, is also nearly out of fuel and might run out as early as October.

The space agency’s Mars rovers Opportunity and Curiosity too have faced issues of late. (IANS)