EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, California (Reuters) – NASA, which is best known for its numerous space services launched in Florida, presented on Friday the first all-electric experimental aircraft, the X-57 “Maxwell”.
Aviation laboratory less known in the California desert. Adapted to a Tecnam P2006T twin-engine propeller aircraft manufactured in Italy, the X-57 has been under development.
Since 2015 and has not yet made its first test flight at the Edward Air Force base.
However, after connecting the two largest 14 electric motors to propel the aircraft – powered by specially designed lithium-ion batteries – NASA felt that Maxwell was ready for its first public preview.
NASA also introduced a newly-built simulator that gives engineers and pilots an idea of what the final version of the X-57 will do in flight, even though the aircraft is still in development.
The Maxwell is the latest model of a proud array of experimental equipment developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Authority for many decades, including the spherical Bell X-1,
which first crossed the baffle and the X-15 missile piloted by Neil Armstrong before joining the Apollo Moon Team.
The Maxwell will be the first agency-equipped X-plane to be developed in two decades. While private companies have been developing all-electric aircraft and floating aircraft for years,
the NASA X-57 project aims to develop and test technologies that meet the standards that commercial manufacturers can meet. adapt to state certification.
These include airworthiness and safety standards as well as energy efficiency and noise standards, according to Brent Cobleigh,
project manager of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, about 160 km north of Los Angeles. ,
“We focus on things that can help the entire industry, not just one company,” he told Reuters in an interview at the research center.
“Our current goal is to fly this aircraft in late 2020.”
The final modification (Mod IV) of the aircraft will have narrower and lighter wings, which are equipped with a total of 14 electric motors – six smaller “buoyancy” propeller along the leading edge of the wing and two larger “cruise” propeller at the top of each wing ,
Elevator propellers are activated for takeoff and landing, but enter during the cruise phase.
More compact, with fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines, electric motor systems are easier to maintain and weigh much less and require less energy to fly, Cobleigh said.
They are also quieter than conventional engines.
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