NASA gets ready to start further tests with the X-57 Maxwell, the agency's first all-electric plane. Although they are only preliminary studies, these trials mark an important stage in the development of electricity powered aircraft.
For the time being, the American space agency conducts tests with the engines and other electrical components of the prototype, but still without putting it in the air. But the prediction is that with the pace of advances in experiments, the X-57 will be able to cut the skies soon.
According to NASA, the battery control system, used to power the aircraft, is one of the components that is not yet ready. So, along with the grounding phase, this should be the next stage of testing. Both are crucial for the X-57 to get out of the prototype phase.
At this first moment, the plane will be connected to an external high voltage power supply, however, NASA engineers work on their own power source to ensure an engine that is successful in making the plane take off.
As airplanes are among the main emitters of carbon in the atmosphere, the existence of a carbon neutral aircraft model, even if it is not commercially exploited at first, it can be an encouraging sign for the aircraft industry.
"We turned the corner on the system design and laboratory tests to deliver it to NASA flight systems and operations engineers to actually operate the vehicle," said Sean Clarcke, principal coordinator of the X-57 project in agency statement.
There is still no date set for the first flight of the X-57 Maxwell, however, the engineers involved work in a test environment that is as close as possible to what will be found in the plane's cockpit.
"What they are learning in this test, they will take with them to the control room of the first flight," added Clarke.
Have you watched our new videos on YouTube? Subscribe to our channel!