NASA testing new electric aircraft codenamed MaxwellBy Robin-Leigh Chetty 20 June 2016 | Categories: news
NASA has big plans for its New Aviations Horizons initiative, which aims to pioneer new types of aircraft. In fact, the company laid out a ten year long plan in Washington recently. One of the first steps in that decade long journey is the newly christened electric plane they plan to test in coming months. Codenamed the Maxwell, after Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, the plane is officially designated as the X-57.
What makes this aircraft particularly unique, is the use of 14 electric motors required to turn its propellers, which is all part of a new wing design that NASA aims to integrate into other aircraft, should tests on the Maxwell go according to plan.
According to NASA's researchers, the use of 14 electric motors is believed to limit the amount of energy required to reach a cruising speed of 281 km/h. While the Maxwell is a small aircraft, capable of carrying only a handful of passengers, it will form the basis of all NASA's future designs for the New Aviations Horizons initiative.
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