The National Aeronautic Association has named the nine projects pushing the boundaries of flight and space exploration that will vie for the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy.
From cutting-edge aircraft designs and innovative clean propulsion concepts to the latest in unmanned aircraft technology and spaceflight, the nominees are in the running for an honor previously bestowed by the nonprofit organization on people including Orville Wright, Howard Hughes, and two Apollo program space crews; and accomplishments including the Boeing 747, the Cessna Citation, and the International Space Station.
The 2019 nominees include:
The Airborne Collision Avoidance System Team
The collision-avoidance technology known as ACAS continues to evolve, having proven itself effective at reducing the risk of midair aircraft collisions and close calls. It is also a component of the effort to integrate unmanned aircraft into the airspace system.
Bombardier Global 7500
Introduced into service in December 2018, Bombardier’s flagship Global 7500 business jet that can accommodate up to 19 occupants entered the market as a clean-sheet design featuring an “industry leading 7,700 nautical mile range” combined with strides in speed, field performance, and comfort. “This revolutionary aircraft is the gateway to a transformed business aviation landscape and a very bright future,” Bombardier said.
Gulfstream G500 and G600
High-speed cruise, entrée to high-elevation airports and shorter runways, and efficiency gains combined with reduced emissions are calling cards of Gulfstream’s G500, a clean-sheet design with high-thrust engines, an aerodynamic new wing, a 5,200-nm range, and seats for up to 19 occupants. The larger-cabin family member, the G600, offers 6,500 nm of range and like its sibling, incorporates advanced safety features.
Hubble Space Telescope Team
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990 and has been updated four times by astronauts visiting the station to make repairs and add technology. With each new instrument helping astronomers “study the heavens in different ways,” the space telescope’s capabilities can be used in conjunction with other space observatories and scientists on the ground “to explore the universe in ways that no single mission could ever accomplish alone.”
magni500 Electric Propulsion System
magniX, headquartered in Seattle, is pioneering ways to use high-power-density electric motors to move aircraft cleanly and efficiently. The magni500, a 297-pound motor producing 751 horsepower, was designed to retrofit “middle-mile” aircraft including the Cessna Caravan, Beechcraft King Air, de Havilland Otter and Beaver seaplanes, and to power newly designed electric aircraft.
Project Heaviside is a high-performance electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicle designed by California-based Kitty Hawk as a “fast, small and exceedingly quiet” way to “free people from traffic.” Kitty Hawk says the Heaviside vehicle is “roughly 100 times quieter than a regular helicopter” and can travel from San Jose to San Francisco in 15 minutes using less than half the energy of a car.
Stratolaunch Carrier Aircraft
A game-changing approach to space launches was the goal when Paul G. Allen founded Stratolaunch. The Stratolaunch carrier vehicle was designed to achieve more reliable, affordable, and accessible launches than ever before. Acting as a launchpad in the sky, the world’s largest airplane can bypass “many of the hazards that cause ground-launch delays here on Earth,” says Stratolaunch in describing its vision of “a world where booking a satellite launch is as routine and convenient as booking a plane ticket.”
The United States Air Force-Boeing X–37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team
As one of the world’s “newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft,” the robotic, unmanned X–37B is designed to operate in low-earth orbit, and is “the first since the Space Shuttle with the ability to return experiments to Earth for further inspection and analysis.” It is in use to explore “reusable vehicle technologies that support long-term space objectives,” with the capability to perform flights that last up to 270 days.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management Team
According to NASA, the goal of the UAS Traffic Management initiative “is to create a system that can integrate drones safely and efficiently into air traffic that is already flying in low-altitude airspace.” The technology is designed to prevent “package delivery and fun flights” from conflicting with helicopters, airplanes, airports, or safety drones flown by first responders.
The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 2 in Arlington, Virginia, and will announce the recipient of the 2019 Collier Trophy the following day.
The formal trophy presentation will take place on June 11 at a location to be determined.
The winner of the trophy in 2018 was the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System, a technology supported by NASA that has saved fighter pilots’ lives. Its software is designed to detect a collision with the ground and warn the pilot, or if necessary, perform an automatic recovery.