Aerion collaborates with NASA on supersonic inlet computer code

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Nascent supersonic business jet (SSBJ) developer Aerion is collaborating with the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, to mature the space agency's new supersonic inlet (Supin) computer code.

The software has been developed to perform aerodynamic design and analysis on engine inlets for future high-speed aircraft, such as Aerion's proposed 12-passenger SSBJ. Under the arrangement, which is being made possible through a Space Act Agreement, Aerion and NASA will work together on inlet design and advanced boundary layer control methods to achieve efficient and stable supersonic inlet operation without boundary-layer bleed.

Collaboration with NASA on its Supin code began earlier this month and is expected to last a year, says Aerion. "Our collaborative effort with NASA Glenn to mature the Supin supersonic inlet design code builds on our existing relationship with NASA Dryden, and both partnerships could pay dividends for years to come in the form of faster and more efficient flight," says Aerion chief technology officer Richard Tracy. The Reno, Nevada-based company's ongoing collaboration with the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in southern California will result in another round of supersonic flight tests of an Aerion test article on board a NASA F-15B this quarter, says Aerion.

These additional flights are intended to evaluate supersonic boundary layer transition properties as they relate to manufacturing standards for surface quality and assembly tolerances.

"These flights and the engine inlet design code maturation project represent two vital elements in the company's plan to design the world's first SSBJ," says Aerion, which continues to seek a risk-sharing airframer to construct its M1.6 aircraft.