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Subsonic Single Aft Engine (SUSAN) Aircraft

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.

Subsonic Single Aft Engine (SUSAN) aircraft
Artist rendering of the Subsonic Single Aft Engine (SUSAN) aircraft concept. Credits: NASA

Modernizing Flight

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.

SUSAN in operation within current airport infrastructure
Artist rendering showcasing SUSAN in operation within current airport infrastructure. Credits: NASA

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.

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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.

Check out this video to learn more about how SUSAN will transform air travel:

NASA Subsonic Single Aft Engine (SUSAN) Electrofan Aircraft Concept. Credits: NASA

Related Publications

"Subsonic Single Aft Engine (SUSAN) Transport Aircraft Concept and Trade Space Exploration"Jansen et al.02 December, 2021
"Preliminary Assessment of a Distributed Electric Propulsion System for the SUSAN Electrofan"Machado et al.13 December, 2022
"Update on SUSAN Concept Vehicle Power and Propulsion System"Chapman et al.21 November, 2022
"Control Architecture for a Concept Aircraft with a Series/Parallel Partial Hybrid Powertrain and Distributed Electric Propulsion"Litt et al.03 February, 2023
"Mission Profiles for the SUSAN Electrofan Concept"Denham et al.01 December, 2022
"Flightcrew Thrust Control and Engine Display Concepts for the Subsonic Single Aft Engine (SUSAN) Transport Aircraft"Kennedy et al.03 November, 2022
"Structural Requirements for Design and Analysis of 25% Scale Subsonic Single Aft Engine (SUSAN) Research Aircraft"Miller et al.28 November, 2022
"Thermal Requirements for Design and Analysis of Subsonic Single Aft Engine (SUSAN) Research Aircraft"Stalcup et al.06 December, 2022
"Conceptual Exploration of Aircraft Configurations for the SUSAN Electrofan"Chau et al.04 December, 2021
"Conceptual Design of Propulsors for the SUSAN Electrofan Aircraft"Liou et al.03 December, 2021
"High-Fidelity Aerodynamic Analysis and Optimization of the SUSAN Electrofan Concept"Machado et al.03 December, 2021
“Thermal Management System Design for Electrified Aircraft Propulsion Concepts“Heersema et al.03 December, 2021
"Electrical System Trade Study for SUSAN Electrofan Concept Vehicle"Haglage et al.25 November, 2021
"Initial Regulatory and Certification Approach for the SUSAN Electrofan Concept"Denham and Jansen22 November, 2021
"Implementation Approach for an Electrified Aircraft Concept Vehicle in a Research Flight Simulator"Litt et al.19 November, 2021
"Tail-mounted Engine Architecture and Design for the Subsonic Single Aft Engine Electrofan Aircraft"Mirhashemi et al.18 November, 2021
"A Design Exploration of Natural Laminar Flow Applications for the SUSAN Electrofan Concept"Lynde et al.16 November, 2021

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