NASA’s first all-electric ‘X-plane’ has arrived and is ready for testing

NASA's X-57 Maxwell - the 'X-plane'NASA

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) first all-electric aircraft, the X-plane, is ready for ground tests.
  • Officially called the X-57 Maxwell, the success of the aircraft will determine the universal standards and certification guidelines for upcoming electric planes.
  • The aim to have the X-plane be 500% more efficient in flight as compared to planes using traditional combustion engines.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA) has a 10-year plan to build and design the ‘X-Series’ — a line of environmentally-friendly airplanes.

And, the first all-electric ‘X-plane’ just arrived at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.


The final modified X-plane arrives at NASA for testingNASA

It took NASA four years and $43.5 million to put the X-plane together. Now, that it’s finally arrived, the engineers can start their tests — ground tests, taxi tests and finally, flight tests.

X-plane’s X-factor

Officially called the X-57 Maxwell, the aim of the project is to help develop a universal standard for electric aircraft.


Since electric planes rely on a complex distributed electric propulsion system, NASA feels its important to have certification guidelines in place for them.

It ideally wants the X-plane to prove a 500% increase in high-speed cruise efficiency, achieve zero in-flight carbon emissions and show that that electric planes are better because they’re quieter.

Preparations are underway to inspect, weigh and balance the Tecnam fuselage before it heads for wing integrationNASA

It’s being built by modifying an Italian Tecnam P2006T. So, researchers at NASA will be able to compare the data from the traditional combustion engines to the same model being powered by electric propulsion.

Once the X-plane has been tested successfully, NASA will apply the same changes to a standard aircraft.

The end of goal of the X-series project is to build hybrid electric jets that can be sold commercially in the market.

See also:
NASA has an ambitious $43 million plan to make electric planes a reality

Here's the futuristic piece of tech that NASA is betting all its Mars chips on