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Meet the X-57 MAXWELL Electric Airplane by NASA

Fort Lauderdale, FL. / News /June 27, 2023 / AvionicSea Corporation.

NASA’s X-57 Maxwell electric airplane project is all about alternative energy, physics, engineering and teamwork. X-57 Maxwell is an all-electric experimental aircraft designed to demonstrate multiple leading-edge technologies.

The goal of the X-57 is to demonstrate that an all-electric airplane can be more efficient, quieter and more environmentally friendly than airplanes powered by traditional gas-powered piston-engines.

Credit: NASA

The X-57 will demonstrate the use of a high-power distributed electric propulsion system for use on an aircraft, including a 460-volt battery to power 14 motors and propellers. In addition, the X-57 will demonstrate that vehicle cruise efficiency can be optimized by integrating the versatility and efficiency of electric propulsion into the vehicle design.

Lithium Batteries

• Lithium Ion

• 860 pounds

• 69.1 kilowatt hours (47 kilowatt hours usable)

The X-57 gets all the energy needed to power the airplane from lithium-ion batteries.

The X-57 began as a gas-powered TECNAM P2006T General Aviation aircraft in a phase known as Modification I. The wing, which is being reduced to 42% of the original size to significantly reduce drag, will feature wing-tip propellers to reduce the wing-tip vortex at cruise. At low-speeds, the distributed propellers nearly double the wing lift, allowing the X-57 to land as slowly as the original TECNAM P2006T. A test program is planned through a series of modifications, to allow researchers to take a step-by-step approach to demonstrate the technical improvements.


(Based on Modification IV configuration)

Aircraft Weight – Approximately 3,000 pounds

Maximum Operational Altitude – 14,000 feet

Cruise Speed – 172 mph (at 8,000 feet)

Stall Speed – 58 knots (67 mph)

High-Lift Motors and Propellers (12)

• 10.5 kilowatts

• Air-cooled

• In-runner, 6-inch diameter

• 5-blade, folding propeller

• 1.9-foot diameter propeller

• 15 pounds each, combined weight

Cruise Motors and Propellers (2)

• 60 kilowatts, continuous

• 72 kilowatts peak (at takeoff)

• Air-cooled

• Out-runner, 14-inch diameter

• 5-foot diameter propeller

• 117 pounds each, combined weight

When complete, the X-57 Maxwell test program hopes to have demonstrated how to safely operate an all-electric, zero-emissions aircraft, including its battery and power distribution systems. That knowledge will be helpful to future engineers interested in designing all-electric air vehicles that might be used for everything from urban air mobility to moving passengers and cargo between nearby cities.

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Dec 10, 2023

Wondering what kind of avionics this will have…

Arnaldo Mateo
Arnaldo Mateo
Dec 10, 2023
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