Three major companies have been awarded contracts by NASA to develop newer aircraft concept designs to improve flight as we know it. They are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, The Boeing Company. Their objective is to study advanced concept designs for aircraft that could take to the skies in the year 2025. And each design has to fly up to 85 percent of the speed of sound; cover a range of approximately 7,000 miles; and carry between 50,000 and 100,000 pounds of payload, either passengers or cargo.
Atlantis launches on the final space shuttle mission, delivering supplies to the International Space Station.