NASA’s All-Electric Experimental X-Plane is Ready for Testing

NASA has just announced that its new X-57 “Maxwell” all electric powered test plane is ready for testing.  This will be the first time this all electric aircraft will be tested by the Space Agency.

NASA’s X-57 All Electric Powered Test Ship

With the arrival of the X-57 Maxwell at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB) in California the Space Agency can begin ground testing, which will the be followed by actual flight testing.  Edwards is also where virtually all new USAF aircraft are given their first testing routines.

NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, the agency’s first all-electric X-plane and first crewed X-planed in two decades, is delivered to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California in its Mod II configuration. The first of three primary modifications for the project, Mod II involves testing of the aircraft’s cruise electric propulsion system. Delivery to NASA from prime contractor Empirical Systems Aerospace of San Luis Obispo, California, marks a major milestone for the project, at which point the vehicle is reintegrated for ground tests, to be followed by taxi tests, and eventually, flight tests. X-57’s goal is to further advance the design and airworthiness process for distributed electric propulsion technology for general aviation aircraft, which can provide multiple benefits to efficiency, emissions, and noise.

This all-electric X-57 is just one of a number of modified vehicles that will not only help NASA researchers test electric propulsion systems for aircraft, but will also help them set up standards, design practices and certification plans alongside industry for forthcoming electric aerial transportation options, including the growing industry springing up around electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft for short-distance transportation.

Computer created model depicted in flight.

The above photos are courtesy of NASA

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