Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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Bearing the logos of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Orbital Sciences Corporation, Orbital's L-1011 Tristar lifts off the Meadows Field Runway at Bakersfield, California, on its first flight May 21, 1997, in NASA's Adaptive Performance Optimization project.Developed by engineers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, the experiment seeks to reduce fuel consumption of large jetliners by improving the aerodynamic efficency of their wings at cruise conditions. A research computer employing a sophisticated software program adapts to changing flight conditions by commanding small movements of the L-1011's outboard ailerons to give the wings the most efficient - or optimal - airfoil. Up to a dozen research flights will be flown in the current and follow-on phases of the project over the next couple years.