NASA takes delivery of first all-electric X-plane ready for ground testing
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The first all-electric X-plane was delivered to NASA last week.
The X-plane, known as Mod II will be used for ground testing of the cruise electric propulsion system at the Californian site.
The first all-electric X-plane was delivered to NASA last week. Empirical Systems Aerospace (ESAero) delivered the first of three configurations of the X-57 Maxwell to the space agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.
The X-plane, known as Mod II will be used for ground testing of the cruise electric propulsion system at the Californian site. It will be the first manned X-plane to be built in two decades and will be NASA’s first all-electric experimental aircraft.The concept is based on the four-seater Tecnam P2006T conventional light aircraft but its twin Rotax 912S3 four-cylinder piston engines have been replaced by 18 electric cruise motor nacelles with individual propellers.
Now the aircraft has been delivered, NASA can begin Phase 2 of the project which firstly includes a truck-mounted test of a modified high-aspect-ratio wing and motors.
Once the X-57 has been fully developed, it is expected to be over 500% more efficient in high-speed cruising than a conventional aircraft. Not to mention it produces no in-flight carbon dioxide emissions.
X-57 Project Manager Tom Rigney said:
"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,”
“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.”
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It is reported that the purpose of the X-57 is to help develop certification standards that can be applied to electric aircraft as they come onto the market.
Image sourced via NASA/Lauren Hughes.