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NASA has released images of what three aerospace companies predict the near future of airliners might be, but given the typical development time and the economics of such projects the 2025 target date seems optimistic for these radical designs. Boeing's projection of a blended-wing aircraft might be the closest to fruition since it's already testing a scale model at Edwards Air Force Base, but Northrop Grumman's double-fuselage creation and Lockheed Martin's giant tail-mounted engine proposal are perhaps a little far-fetched.
NASA set the bar pretty high for the competition to design the dream airplanes. They had to be quieter, burn less fuel and emit fewer pollutants than current airliners, carry between 50,000 and 100,000 pounds of payload and be capable of Mach .85 for a range of 7,000 miles. "For the rest of this year, each team will be exploring, testing, simulating, keeping and discarding innovations and technologies to make their design a winner," NASA said on its website.