On November 11, NASA unveiled its First Experimental Electric Airplane. The first all-electronic configuration of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell now is at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The X-57’s vehicle features a replacement to the traditional combustion engines with electric cruise motors. The delivery is a major milestone for the project, allowing NASA engineers to begin putting the aircraft through ground tests, to be followed by taxi tests and eventually, flight tests.
One of the major goals of the X-57 project is to help develop standards for emerging electric aircraft markets, including urban air mobility vehicles, which rely on distributed electric propulsion systems. NASA will share the aircraft’s electric-propulsion-focused design with regulators and industry, which will advance certification approaches for aircraft utilization distributed electric propulsion.