NASA Electric Research Plane Gets X Number, New Name

posted Jun 28, 2016, 6:01 PM by Craig Markowitz
artist's concept of NASA's X-57 Maxwell aircraft

With 14 electric motors turning propellers and all of them integrated into a uniquely-designed wing, NASA will test new propulsion technology using an experimental airplane now designated the X-57 and nicknamed “Maxwell.”

NASA researchers working directly with the electric airplane also chose to name the aircraft “Maxwell” to honor James Clerk Maxwell, the 19th century Scottish physicist who did groundbreaking work in electromagnetism. His importance in contributing to the understanding of physics is rivaled only by Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton part of a four-year flight demonstrator plan, NASA’s Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology Operations Research project will build the X-57 by modifying a recently procured, Italian-designed Tecnam P2006T twin-engine light aircraft.

Its original wing and two gas-fueled piston engines will be replaced with a long, skinny wing embedded with 14 electric motors – 12 on the leading edge for take offs and landings, and one larger motor on each wing tip for use while at cruise altitude.

For more information, see the NASA website at http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-electric-research-plane-gets-x-number-new-name

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