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NASA Aeronautics in 2023

In 2023, NASA advanced aviation technologies to improve passenger experiences, stimulate U.S. economic growth, and create a future of cleaner, quieter, and safer skies — all while working to support the U.S. goal of reaching net-zero aviation greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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Airplane outside it's gate at the airport.

This year, NASA continued to make the impossible, possible while sharing our story of discovery with the world. … We’re making great strides to make aviation more dependable and sustainable.

Bill nelson

NASA Administrator

X-66 Introduced

Under a Funded Space Act Agreement, NASA and Boeing in 2023 began collaborating to build, test, and fly the X-66, a full-scale demonstrator aircraft intended to validate new fuel-efficient designs and green technologies aimed at lowering emissions for future single-aisle airliners. The X-66 represents a key step in helping the United States achieve its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from aviation by 2050.

Learn More About Sustainable Aviation about X-66 Introduced
Artist concept shows a mid-sized airliner with a long, skinny wing held up by braces flying through a cloudy sky.

X-59: Assembly Complete

Assembly of the Quesst mission’s X-59 supersonic aircraft at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works in California was completed during 2023 with the installation of its jet engine, tail, and lower empennage. The aircraft was powered up, tested, and painted in anticipation of its official public debut and planned first flight in 2024.

An animated gif of an artist illustration of the X-59 inside a hangar with the new Quesst mark above it.

Drones & Fires

NASA began the Advanced Capabilities for Emergency Response Operations (ACERO) project during 2023. Through ACERO, NASA is using drones and advanced aviation communication technologies to improve wildland fire management operations. ACERO began collaboration with other parts of NASA, other government agencies, the scientific community, and commercial industries on developing a concept of operations that enables the safe use of drones in airspace restricted for operations around wildland fires.

NASA researchers test a mobile air traffic kit for remotely operated Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in DeSoto National Forest in Mississippi.
NASA Tests Mobile Air Traffic Kit During Wildfire Prevention Operations

Unveiling a New Look

During 2023, GE Aerospace and magniX revealed the paint schemes for the hybrid electric aircraft — a Saab 340B and DeHavilland "Dash 7," respectively — they will fly as part of NASA's Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration project.

Read More About the Project about Unveiling a New Look
Artist illustration of the GE and magniX aircraft in flight in blue skies with white clouds.
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NASA’s New 3D-Printed Superalloy Can Take the Heat

NASA has demonstrated a breakthrough in 3D printable high-temperature materials that could lead to stronger, more durable parts for airplanes…

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Future of Aeronautics: Transforming Aviation

As we look forward over the next few years, at one end of the spectrum there will be iconic flight experiments that will demonstrate the viability of our vision for the transformation of 21st century aviation. And on the other end of the spectrum, groundbreaking new concepts and discoveries will fuel an even bolder vision of what is possible. We look forward to taking this exciting journey with you.

An illustration a mid-sized airliner with a long, narrow wing on top of the airplane supported by trusses.