NASA Receives First All-Electric Aircraft, Readies It for Flight
Kyle Maxey posted on October 26, 2019 |
NASA readies an electric plane to streamline the development of electric aircraft.

NASA has taken delivery of an all-electric configuration of its X-57 Maxwell aircraft, the first crewed electric aircraft X-plane. It arrived at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., and will undergo comprehensive ground tests to validate the craft’s structural integrity before further flight tests begin.

What sets the new X-57 apart from other aircraft in the NASA X-fleet is that unlike previous aircraft propelled by combustion engines, the new Maxwell uses electric cruise motors for propulsion.

“The X-57 Mod II aircraft delivery to NASA is a significant event, marking the beginning of a new phase in this exciting electric X-plane project,” said Tom Rigney,X-57 project manager. “With the aircraft in our possession, the X-57 team will soon conduct extensive ground testing of the integrated electric propulsion system to ensure the aircraft is airworthy. We plan to rapidly share valuable lessons learned along the way as we progress toward flight testing, helping to inform the growing electric aircraft market.”

During the X-57 project, NASA aims to develop certification standards for the electric aircraft market, an emerging field in the airspace sector. Not only will the X-57 be used to validate future passenger aircraft design, NASA engineers believe their work will be critical for the development of “urban air mobility vehicles.”

NASA plans to share all of its results with regulators and product developers in the private sector with the goal of catalyzing a rapid development of green flying machines.

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