NASA’s SUbsonic Single Aft eNgine (SUSAN) Electrofan is an advanced hybrid-electric concept aircraft designed to minimize environmental impacts and introduce innovative technologies for sustainable subsonic regional transport aircraft.
Entering a new era of aviation, SUSAN seeks to reduce emission levels by 50% within the next few decades, with an ultimate goal of net-zero emissions. Through use of alternative fuels, this aircraft concept has the potential to improve fuel efficiency and reduce energy consumption while retaining speed, size, and range capabilities of large regional aircraft.
As the aviation industry shifts gears toward more sustainable air travel, SUSAN offers new opportunities for improving performance and reducing operation costs for the largest aircraft market: the single-aisle.
Built to carry a maximum of 180 passengers with a 750-mile economic range and a 2,500-mile design range, SUSAN will operate using existing airport infrastructure and current airspace management systems. This will help enable effective implementation into the global aircraft fleet and eliminate the need for redesigning airports to accommodate new aircraft.
Innovative Design Technology
SUSAN’s unique design configuration features a 20 MW Electrified Aircraft Propulsion (EAP) system which enables advanced propulsion airframe integration (PAI) for aerodynamic benefits that help reduce energy use and fuel burn.
Introducing new possibilities with a single-engine aircraft design, SUSAN features a hybrid powertrain with a single aft turbofan engine producing thrust and electrical power for distributed wing-mounted engines. The system also includes deep redundancy with a single-use battery that can provide power to the aircraft in the event of engine failure.
In order to maximize aircraft performance, SUSAN leverages various EAP technologies such as the 1.4 MW High-Efficiency Megawatt Motor (HEMM), the High-Efficiency Electrified Aircraft Thermal Research (HEATheR) power converter, and several advanced material technologies. These innovative components help strengthen power and thermal management for the aircraft to operate safely at high altitudes, and ensure the minimal weight for efficient flight
The Future of Flight
SUSAN has the potential to reimagine sustainable aviation by introducing innovative EAP technologies to transport category aircraft. This aircraft concept offers new ways in making modern aircraft more fuel efficiency and cost effective through its unique design and hybrid-electric power system.
Collaborating with industry partners will help demonstrate and transition these technologies to commercial products, bringing the aviation industry one step closer to achieving sustainable flight.