The first NASA application occurred during the Phase I effort when the proposed methodology was applied to the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator. The next NASA application will be performed as a demonstration example during the Phase II development. It is also expected that this technology will be directly applicable to other research projects planned at LaRC and GRC. Examples of potential application include any future unconventional configuration or next generation system requiring accurate and rapid weight prediction. The 2006 NASA Strategic Plan defines a Strategic Sub-goal 3E to "Advance knowledge in the fundamental disciplines of aeronautics, and develop technologies for safer aircraft and higher capacity airspace systems." A key outcome under Strategic Sub-goal 3E is 3E.2, "By 2016, develop and demonstrate future concepts, capabilities, and technologies that will enable major increases in air traffic management effectiveness, flexibility, and efficiency, while maintaining safety, to meet capacity and mobility requirements of the Next Generation Air Transportation System." This proposal addresses the NASA goals by proposing state of the art advances in rapid physics-based weight prediction of unconventional designs which exist outside of historical databases. By making these analyses available earlier in the design process, more effective and accurate vehicle systems can be generated while maintaining safety.
M4 Engineering has active relationships with several prime contractors who are likely users of this technology. These include Boeing Phantom Works, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon. These provide excellent commercialization opportunities for the technology. The proposed methods and software have the potential to dramatically streamline the physics-based weight prediction process for conceptual designs. Demand for this capability will be found in the government and at major airframe manufacturers. The proposed effort will satisfy this demand with a tool that is not only technically capable, but is easy to understand and use. One major airframe manufacturer has already expressed interest in M4 Engineering's technology.