NASA is more than our nation’s space agency.
NASA’s first “A” stands for aeronautics. In this special feature, read about why aviation is so important to our economy and learn how NASA is transforming aviation for the 21st century in four key technological areas — all of which is intended to give you new options for air travel.
$1.9 trillion total U.S. economic aviation industry activity in 2019
Why Should I Care?
Here are some fast facts about aviation’s contributions to the the U.S. economy:
• 8.97 million flights by U.S. carriers worldwide in 2022
• 24 million tons of freight transported by U.S. airlines in 2022
• $51.5 billion positive manufacturing trade balance in 2021
• 2.1 million aerospace/defense jobs; 575,000 in aeronautics/aircraft in 2021
U.S. aviation goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
We are fully committed to safely optimizing flight operations to benefit the environment.
NASA is addressing the unique barriers to sustainable high-speed flight.
NASA research is focusing on vehicle development and operation, airspace design and operations, and community integration.
Six Rounds of Solicitations Leading to $178M of Awards
• 23 teams awarded to date
• 80 universities including 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities / 16 other Minority Serving Institutions
• 507 proposals submitted
• 377 different proposing Principal Investigators
• 4,023 total team members
• 20–50 students per team
NASA’s work in aeronautics is critical to meeting the nation’s goal of net zero greenhouse emissions in the aviation industry by 2050. We will do this by accelerating research and development of aircraft technologies that are more efficient and quieter, without compromising safety. Achieving this goal is also critical to the competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry. Our vision and partnerships don’t stop there. Through ambitious experimental programs, including the X-57 electric aircraft, X-59 supersonic aircraft, and the X-66A Sustainable Flight Demonstrator, NASA is poised to transform the future of air travel.